The Wall Street Journal says today that the No. 2 cable operator’s CEO will leave at year end, and Time Warner Cable doesn’t come close to trying to deny it. “Glenn is under contract and if and when he decides to step down, we’ll have an announcement,” the company says. Britt’s current contract, amended in 2011, expires at the end of the year according to Time Warner Cable’s most recent proxy statement. Britt’s compensation for 2011 came to $16.4M. That was about twice as much as the package for the second highest paid exec, COO Rob Marcus, who likely would replace Britt. The leak, attributed to “a person familiar with the matter,” comes just a day after Time Warner Cable disappointed investors with its higher-than-expected loss of video customers and uninspiring financial guidance for the rest of the year. Shares fell 11.6% yesterday.
Britt has served as the de facto spokesman for cable operators since Comcast, the largest distributor, also took charge of NBCUniversal. And Britt has used his position to vigorously oppose efforts by pay TV networks to raise prices — requiring operators to either watch profit margins shrink, or pass the costs along to consumers. In December he said that he’d cut low-rated channels, which is what he did with Ovation. But Time Warner Cable has been unable to fight the tide. It recently launched a sports channel to carry the Los Angeles Lakers, and agreed to be a charter distributor for a separate channel that the Los Angeles Dodgers will launch to show most of its games.