Glenn Britt, the longtime chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable, passed away Wednesday morning, less than six months after retiring.
Britt, a lifelong Time Inc. and Time Warner staffer who stepped down from his dual posts at TWC at the end of last year, died at his home in New York City after battling a recurrence of cancer for the past eight months. He was 65.
As the head of first the Time Warner Cable unit of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) and then the independent company, Britt ran the second-largest US MSO for slightly more than a dozen years. Under his watch, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) expanded tremendously from a $6 billion division to a standalone corporation with $21 billion of annual revenue and a market capitalization of at least $40 billion.
During Britt's tenure, TW Cable also solidified its reputation as a technology leader in the cable industry, pioneering such technologies as interactive TV, switched digital video, high-definition TV, and digital video recording (DVR). As such, TWC frequently served as a counterpoint to the even larger Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), developing an alternative technological path for its close ally, Bright House Networks , and other cable operators to follow.
However, in Britt's final year at the TWC helm, his proud company suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks. Most notably, it fought what was widely viewed as a losing battle with CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) over retransmission-consent rights last summer. That battle caused TWC to shed hundreds of thousands of video customers in the second half of the year. It also spent the last half of the year trying to fend off an unwanted takeover bid by fellow MSO Charter Communications Inc. . (See TW Cable Hemorrhages Subs.)
Britt, who was diagnosed with melanoma about five years ago, stepped down from his twin TWC posts less than three months after his cancer returned. But he had spelled out his plans to retire well before then. He was succeeded by current TW Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus, who engineered the deal to thwart Charter and sell the company to Comcast for more than $45 billion. (See Comcast's TWC Coup: 3 Things to Know.)
Tributes to Britt, warmly remembered as an industry leader, mentor, and gentleman, have been pouring in from his cable colleagues all day. His survivors include his wife, Barbara.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading