Comcast, the country's largest cable operator set to control NBC Universal, has a new leader of its traditional business. Neil Smit, CEO of Charter, will take over as president of the cable business that serves some 24 million homes.
He will report to Comcast COO Steve Burke, who will play a key role in integrating NBCU into the company and operating it.
Charter, meanwhile, said COO Michael Lovett will rise to interim CEO and a search for a permanent successor will begin.
Smit led Charter, with about 5 million homes, through a bankruptcy process. He had been CEO since 2005; previously, he held a top role at American Online as well as stints at Nabisco and Pillsbury. Charter is the country's fourth-largest cable operator.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts stated that Smit is "a strong leader with deep knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of topics." The hiring of Smit is widely believed to be an acknowledgment that Burke will need to spend more time overseeing NBCU once Comcast takes a 51% ownership, likely some time next year.
Charter has been a leader in delving into the emerging area of using set-top-box data, setting up an operation where it has benefited from making data procured from 300,000 homes in Los Angeles available to customers.