Cable operator Charter said Monday that it has hired former Cablevision executive Tom Rutledge as president-CEO. Last week, it was announced that he would be departing Cablevision as COO.
At least one analyst has referred to Rutledge as the most valuable executive in the cable industry. He begins his new post Feb. 13, and will join the board of directors.
The 58-year-old Rutledge had been Cablevision COO since 2004 and had led a series of technological innovations and system upgrades, the acquisition of the Bresnan systems and the spinoff of AMC Networks. Cablevision has also been more active than some other operators in fighting the rising costs of content and network carriage fees.
Rutledge takes over at Charter for Michael Lovett.
Eric L. Zinterhofer, Charter’s chairman, stated that Rutledge has “the rare combination of operational expertise and strategic vision.”
Some analysts speculated that Rutledge left Cablevision because he was frustrated by relations with the Dolan family, the controlling shareholders -- but he may have simply received a better offer and the chance to serve as a CEO.
Charter serves at least 1.5 million more customers than Cablevision, according to the NCTA.