Video services

Charter's CTO Resigns

In a surprise move, Charter Communications Inc. announced Tuesday that Chief Technology Officer and EVP of Operations Marwan Fawaz is leaving the company on March 25 "to pursue other opportunities."

Fawaz, a well-respected and well-liked cable veteran who became Charter's CTO in March 2006 and took on the added operations role in May 2010, played a key role in helping lead Charter through its Chapter 11 process. He performed a similar duty as CTO at Adelphia Communications, keeping the company's technology wheels on the road as it went through a bankruptcy process that ended up with a sale of its systems to Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). (See The Evolving World of Marwan Fawaz , Charter Leaves Chapter 11 and Time Warner, Comcast Buy Adelphia.)

"While Charter is entering a new phase with changes in focus and strategy, Marwan has indicated that he's looking for a change as well and has other opportunities he would like to pursue," a Charter spokeswoman said via e-mail.

Charter also announced that Don Detampel has added EVP, technology, to his title, taking on product development, network operations, engineering and information technology. Detampel joined Charter in the fall of 2010 as president of commercial services, and will continue to serve that role. (See Charter Hires Commercial Services Prez.)

The MSO has also tapped Chris Bowick, a former CTO of Cox Communications Inc. , to serve as Charter's interim CTO for an undetermined transition period. Earlier in their careers, Bowick and Charter President and CEO Mike Lovett were with Denver-based MSO Jones Intercable Inc., which is now part of Comcast.

Fawaz's departure comes exactly one month after Charter announced the resignation of EVP of Operations and Marketing Ted Schremp. (See Charter EVP Resigns.)

Why this matters
Fawaz's departure comes at a critical time at Charter. The company shaved billions off its debt load when it emerged from bankruptcy in November 2009, and has seen its financial operations improve since that process.

Charter, which has been busy deploying new services such as Docsis 3.0 and shoring up its business services capabilities, is now heading into its next phase and will be making some big decisions on how its future will be shaped.

It's already made some of them, picking TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) as its next-gen video set-top platform and using bandwidth-saving techniques such as switched digital video. What's still missing from its strategy is a wireless play and a broad deployment of TV Everywhere services.

For more
For more about Charter's evolution since its emergence from bankruptcy protection, check out:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:10:18 PM
re: Charter's CTO Resigns

Multichannel News came across this proxy filing that went public today that, among many things, detailed Fawaz's $5.5M separation package, according to the mag's calculations, which include a $1.3M lump sum.

The "separation and related arrangements" section (which starts on page 28) has more details on that package, as well as others assigned to Ted Schremp, Eloise Schmitz, and other execs that have recently left the company. JB


K-ble tech 12/5/2012 | 5:10:16 PM
re: Charter's CTO Resigns

I see these huge severance packages for the top execs, yet I've got several concerns about the money (or lack thereof) paid to the employees who actually "work" for the company. For example:

Were you aware that although the federal minimum wage has gone up 3 times since 2006 at a combined total of over 40%, yet the average starting wage for a first year technician (BBT-1) has remained relatively the same?

Were you aware that many technicians working 40 hours per week rely on medicaid to insure their families because they simply can't afford the insurance offered by Charter? On that note, isn't it an alarming fact in itself that Charter technicians overwhelmingly qualify for medicaid insurance? Why do Charter technicians overwhelmingly qualify for medicaid insurance? Maybe it's because the average technician (supporting a family of four) earns an average of $50/week above the poverty level.

Maybe Charter should focus on their blue-collar workers a little more than their overpaid execs. It's not all rainbows and butterflies at Charter. There are some very big issues that must be addressed very soon. It's just a thought.


shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:10:14 PM
re: Charter's CTO Resigns

Yes, but on the bright side, Charter techs are free of the evil influences of labor unions.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:10:10 PM
re: Charter's CTO Resigns

Absolutely. I know that I have my parents' union to blame for my college education. Imagine the audacity of people who think that a decent wage and the chance to better one's life are goals that we should aspire to.

K-ble tech 12/5/2012 | 5:10:10 PM
re: Charter's CTO Resigns

Very good point! Those techs can enjoy their freedoms from those evil influeces while working their second jobs. Who needs collective bargaining? Pfft. They should be happy to get what they get. After all, Charter did THEM a favor by hiring them. right?

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