July 25 Time Warner Cable Inc's longtime
chief executive and chairman, Glenn Britt, will step down at the
end of the year and be replaced by Robert Marcus, the company's
second in command.
The move was widely expected. Britt, 64, has been CEO since
2001. Marcus, 48, will become CEO and will join the company's
board of directors as chairman starting Jan. 1. He was promoted
to chief operating officer and president in 2010. There are no
immediate plans to replace him as president.
Britt said in an interview that he had known Marcus for two
decades and identified him as a successor four or five years
The executive shuffle comes as just as Time Warner Cable,
the second largest U.S. cable provider behind Comcast, with 12
million customers, has become an acquisition target for John
Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corp.
Malone, whose media holding company has an investment in
cable provider Charter Communications Inc, made an
offer for the company, but it was rejected because it was not
viewed as beneficial to Time Warner Cable shareholders, Reuters
Marcus on Thursday declined to comment on Malone or
The change at the top will not minimize Malone's interest in
the company, according to Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew
"I certainly do not think that it calls off the dogs on
interest from Charter and John Malone," Harrigan said.
Marcus, who earlier in his career was an attorney focused on
mergers and acquisitions, said Time Warner Cable's philosophy on
deals will stay the same. Time Warner Cable purchased Insight
Communications, a Midwest cable operator, for $3 billion in
"With the exception of the Insight transaction and some
smaller deals, we've generally concluded that the better value
creation opportunity was in buying back our own shares," said
Marcus. "The same principles will continue to guide us."
Moffett Research analyst Craig Moffett said Marcus' biggest
challenge will be to navigate through consolidation discussions.
"Wall Street has high regard for Rob Marcus," Moffett said.
"But Time Warner Cable's stock, at the moment of transition,
prices in a relatively high expectation of consolidation with
Charter, and that makes his path forward much more complicated."
Time Warner shares are up 21 percent this year.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
Moffett said one of Britt's biggest achievements was being
among the first executives to reposition broadband Internet as
cable's primary product.
Marcus said investors should not expect any "fundamental
near term changes" under his leadership. He wants to "redouble
our focus on keeping the customer at the center of everything we
do" and help remind consumers of the value of the company's
Marcus, who once was the company's finance chief, added that
he wants to foster a more performance oriented culture at the
company and will work hard to increase the "competitive spirit"
as the cable industry faces more rivals than ever.
Business services will also be a focus. Marcus wants to
change the perception that cable is just about serving homes
with video and Internet now that business services is the
company's fastest growing segment, increasing its revenue by
double digits each quarter.
"What is really the biggest driver of growth of our business
often gets ignored," he added.