CABLE, TELCOS RAID EACH OTHER'S STAFFS BOTH INDUSTRIES LOOK TO FILL HOLES WITH EXPERIENCED INDIVIDUALS

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The recruiting efforts between the cable and telephone industries haven't reached the frenzied pace that some expect, but both sides are actively hiring peo ple away from each other to gain needed expertise.

Some recent examples include the following:

In the past year, Bell Atlantic Corp. has hired almost 100 people from the cable, programming and information industries to help it move into the multimedia world.

Pacific Bell has begun hiring people from the cable industry, mostly in the areas of technology and programming, to build an electronic superhighway in California.

Jones Intercable, the nation's eighth-largest multiple system operator, recently hired a top executive from U S West to lead its corporate marketing efforts.

"We looked at where the world was going in terms of the convergence of cable and telecommunications," said Jim O'Brien, president and chief operating officer of Jones Intercable.

The MSO recently hired Frank Pereira, former VP-marketing for the carrier market unit of U S West Communications, to be its group VP-marketing.

"With the world changing, we felt we needed someone with the skills to market in a telecommunications world," Mr. O'Brien said.

Said Mr. Pereira, who designed U S West's strategy to compete against alternate access providers and cable operators, "Both the cable companies and the telcos need seasoned, competitive individuals."

Leaders of other cable companies agree that they need to look outside their industries for some of this experience.

"When we get into areas we don't know, we rely on the experts," said Brian Roberts, president of Comcast Corp.

Comcast hired Donald Harris, former president of Pacific Bell's Los Angeles cellular operation, as president of Comcast Cellular Communications.

Comcast has also hired other individuals from the phone industry, from senior management to public relations, to work in its cellular division.

The telcos, meanwhile, are finding that they can get valuable experience from people in the cable business as they move into video services.

"We're gearing up our team," said a spokeswoman for Pac Bell, which plans to spend $16 billion to build advanced networks in California.

She said Pac Bell has so far hired a "handful" of people with experience in cable to help the phone company build and program its networks.

However, some telcos are relying on their cable partners rather than hiring new people.

U S West, for example, has invested $2.5 billion in Time Warner Entertainment and says it will count on the cable company's expertise in programming its full-service networks.

Telecommunications headhunters say the cross-migration of executives will probably pick up in the future.

"From a recruiting standpoint, there will be a lot of activity," said Jordan Greenberg, president of The Pinnacle Source, a Denver-based telecommunications search company.

However, said Mr. Greenberg, "At first, companies will be very careful about hiring specific personnel. Instead, they will spend money on companies that have the technology and the personnel."M

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