Time Warner Cable's Marcus to Replace Britt as CEO

May Decide Whether to Merge With Charter Communications

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Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt will retire at the end of the year, to be succeeded by Chief Operating Officer Rob Marcus.

Rob Marcus
Rob Marcus

Mr. Marcus, 48, will take over as CEO and chairman on Jan. 1, the company said today in a statement. Mr. Britt, 64, will remain on the board in a non-executive role. Bloomberg News reported in February that Britt would retire at year's end.

Among other questions he will encounter in his new role, Mr. Marcus may face a decision on whether Time Warner Cable should merge with Charter Communications. Charter, the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, is interested in a combination with Time Warner Cable, the second-largest U.S. cable operator, people familiar with the matter have said.

Time Warner Cable has failed to add video customers for more than five years as consumers have switched to competing services such as Verizon's Fios or canceled cable altogether.

"I love this business, but I'm ready to retire knowing Rob is ready to lead," Mr. Britt said in the statement. "He is an accomplished executive, a strong strategic decision maker, and has a deep understanding of our company, our industry and what it will take to lead TWC into the future."

Mr. Britt has been Time Warner Cable's CEO since 2001 and oversaw the company's transition to a public company after it was spun off from Time Warner in 2009. Mr. Britt joined Time Inc. in 1972 and has worked in the cable industry for about 40 years.

Mr. Marcus is "a known commodity to the investment community," Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries, said in an e-mail. "The management continuity suggests the company will retain its cash return policies which investors favor."

The company announced the CEO transition while in the midst of a contentious negotiation with CBS over how much to pay for the network's signal in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. The companies extended a Thursday deadline to 5 p.m. Monday.

If the deadline passes without a deal, CBS may go dark for Time Warner Cable customers in those markets. Time Warner Cable has threatened to take the No. 2 slot on the channel guide away from CBS if that happens, and to tell subscribers to use Aereo to stream CBS's signal.

It's far from the last such battle Time Warner Cable will fight. Under Mr. Britt it has promised to combat escalating fees for networks, especially those with relatively small audiences. Networks have meanwhile committed to increasing their revenue from distributors including cable companies.

~ Bloomberg News and Ad Age staff ~

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