Ex-Cablevision COO Becomes Charter CEO

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
12/19/2011



It didn't take Tom Rutledge long to find a landing spot.

On Monday, just four days after resigning as COO of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Rutledge, 58, was named president and CEO of Charter Communications Inc. He will succeed Michael Lovett, who announced in October his intentions to step down as the top guy at Charter by April 30 at the latest. (See Cablevision COO Resigns and Charter Names New CEO .)

Rutledge was rumored as a possible successor to Lovett the moment he announced plans to leave Cablevision. He'll take the helm of St. Louis-based Charter on Feb. 13, when he will also become a member of the Charter board of directors. Lovett will stay on until Feb. 12 to help with the transition.

Why this matters
Charter gets one of the most well-regarded executives and visionaries in the cable industry. At Cablevision, Rutledge helped champion the MSO's deployment of several advanced technologies and strategies, including its network DVR, its aggressive rollout of Wi-Fi, a live TV streaming app for the iPad and a service that can relay over-the-top video content from PCs to traditional set-top boxes.

With Rutledge's future now known, speculation will simmer down about whether the 34-year cable vet's departure meant Cablevision was thinking about selling itself or going private. As for Charter, which emerged from bankruptcy in November 2009, the addition of Rutledge likely indicates that the MSO is positioning itself for the long haul rather than sprucing itself up for a sale. (See What's Next for Cablevision? and Charter Leaves Chapter 11 .)

For cable hacks, this also means we're in for some entertaining Charter earnings calls next year, because Rutledge is known for going a bit off-script and providing actual news about the company he's operating.

For more
Read more about Charter's CEO search and Rutledge's recent legacy at Cablevision.



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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