Once John Malone’s Liberty Global finalizes its $23.3B acquisition of the UK’s Virgin Media, Virgin CEO Neil Berkett will leave with $19.6M in severance and $67.2M in other options and rewards, a company spokesman confirms. Berkett joined Virgin as COO in 2005 and was named CEO in March of 2008. The native New Zealander said he would exit after the merger closes, which Liberty Global expects will be in the second quarter of this year. Under Berkett’s stewardship, Virgin Media’s share price has tripled as it competes in the pay-TV, telephone and broadband space that is also inhabited by the News Corp.-controlled BSkyB and by BT, among others. The UK’s second largest pay-TV operator, Virgin Media has 4.9M subscribers. A search is currently underway for Berkett’s replacement and the exec is unsure of his future plans. “I haven’t thought much ahead about what I’d like to do,” he said at last week’s Cable Congress in London.
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