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Clearwire's Old CIO Becomes Cox's New CTO

Cox Communications Inc. has turned to the wireless world to find its next chief technology officer.

Cox, the nation's third-largest incumbent MSO, announced Friday the hiring of Kevin Hart as its new EVP and CTO. Hart, most recently the chief information officer of Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), will start at Cox on April 25. He and his family will be moving from Seattle to Atlanta.

Cox said Hart will be tasked with leading the strategic and operational direction of Cox's "integrated technological platform" as the company moves ahead on its wireless service ambitions. Hart was formerly CIO of Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT < ), as well as previously holding positions at Capgemini Consulting, International Paper and the former SBC Corp.

Why this matters
Cox has been operating without a permanent CTO since last summer. Hart's appointment comes about 10 months after Cox's previous CTO, Scott Hatfield, resigned "based on Cox's business needs and Scott's personal reasons." Don Hallacy, a former Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and BellSouth exec, has been serving as Cox's interim CTO since last December. Hallacy will stay on for a brief transition period "to ensure we maintain consistency and momentum throughout the organization," but will be eventually leaving the company, a Cox spokesman said.

Hart's start at Cox comes at a critical time for the MSO. Cox is beginning to stretch the legs of its wireless service by piggybacking on Sprint's 3G network and introducing services in a handful of markets. It's also building its own wireless network, with plans to eventually migrate to Long Term Evolution (LTE).

His hiring also comes at a pivotal point for Clearwire, which recently lost its CEO, chairman and several other senior-level execs, including Hart, and is operating amid questions about its funding situation. (See Clearwire CEO & Senior Execs Resign, Sprint Squelches Clearwire Acquisition Talk, Clearwire CEO Morrow Resigns and McCaw Quits Clearwire.)

For more
For more on Cox's CTO and wireless moves, please check out:

- Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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