Stamford, CT and Philadelphia, PA – May 15, 2014 – Charter Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: CHTR) and Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) today announced that former Insight Communications, Inc. co-founder and CEO and 40-year cable industry veteran Michael S. Willner has agreed to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of “SpinCo,” the new cable company that will be spun off from Comcast upon completion of the Comcast – Time Warner Cable merger and the Comcast – Charter transactions. Willner will oversee the operations of SpinCo, which will serve approximately 2.5 million customers in Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
SpinCo will have a nine-member board of directors, three of whom will be appointed by Charter, including Charter President and CEO, Tom Rutledge, who will serve as the non-executive Chairman of the Board. Comcast will appoint three of the remaining six members of the board and will select three more from a list provided by Charter. These six board members will be independent of both Charter and Comcast. In addition, Charter will have a services agreement with SpinCo, which will help both companies achieve greater scale and regional efficiencies.
“A skilled operator with an impressive track record of success, Michael has been a pillar of leadership and an active ambassador for the Industry,” said Tom Rutledge, President and CEO of Charter. “Michael’s expertise, strategic vision, and knowledge from his years at Insight will be invaluable to the customers, employees and shareholders of SpinCo. Having him on board now – and leading the new business post-transaction – will be extremely advantageous.”
“Michael is an excellent leader and the perfect choice to be at the helm of this new company,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast. “His deep knowledge of the cable business, combined with his experience and focus on technology, will enable him to drive growth and product innovation for customers and position SpinCo as a competitor in the industry.”
“I am excited to assemble and lead a new team of executives who will be exclusively focused on creating a great company with terrific products and excellent customer service,” said Willner. “I am honored to take on this task and look forward to working with Tom and his team at Charter, as well as the strong teams in place within these systems and the other MSOs and suppliers in the industry.”
Willner was a co-founder and CEO of Insight Communications from 1985 through 2012, when Insight was sold to Time Warner Cable. Under Willner’s leadership, Insight Communications became one of the most highly regarded operating companies in the industry. He began his career in 1974 at Vision Cable Communications, a division of Advanced Publications and a part of the Newhouse family’s media investments, where he rose to become the Chief Operating Officer. Willner currently serves as President and CEO of privately-held Penthera Partners, a software licensing company focused on cloud-to-mobile technology. He will remain involved with that company as a member of its board.
Willner twice served as Chairman of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the industry’s principal trade association. In addition, he was Chairman of the NCTA’s political action committee (CablePAC) from 2000 until 2012, Chairman of the Board of the Cable Center from 2007 through 2011, was on the executive committee of CableLabs, and the boards of C-SPAN and the Walter Kaitz Foundation. Willner is a recipient of the NCTA’s 2004 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership and a member of both the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and the Cable Hall of Fame.
Willner graduated from Boston University’s College of Communications in 1974.