Chris Winfrey, a longtime senior executive at cable giant Charter Communications, will become president and CEO of the company, starting December 1. He will succeed Tom Rutledge, the cable-industry veteran ,who will serve as executive chairman of the company and its board of directors.
Winfrey has been chief operating officer of Charter, the operator of the massive Spectrum cable service, after a long stint working as its chief financial officer.,
“It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead Charter and this incredible team over the past 10 years,” said Rutledge, in a statement. “We have grown the company through innovation and strategic investments and have positioned Charter to provide the best converged connectivity products and services available today. During my 50 years in this industry, I have witnessed first-hand its ability to continually evolve and change the world, and our opportunity today is greater than ever with ubiquitous connectivity being central to everything we do.”
Winfrey will take the reins of the company as many traditional cable distributors face business disruption, with younger consumers opting for broadband-based entertainment options that include streaming hubs. Earlier this year, Charter entered into a joint venture with rival Comcast Corp. that aims to develop a streaming platform for smart TVs and mobile devices that will license Comcast’s Flex platform and use Xumo, a streaming venue Comcast bought in 2020. Charter is expected to contribute $900 million over several years.
Winfrey joined Charter as CFO in 2010, and continued to add oversight of various operations during his tenure. He was named COO in 2021
He has been leading the company’s rural construction initiative, including a $5 billion investment associated with making gigabit broadband connectivity available to more than a million currently unserved locations. He also work to move the company more fully into broadband. During his time as CFO, he played an integral role in the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
Prior to joining Charter, Mr. Winfrey served as a senior executive for cable operations, broadcasting and satellite entities at Unitymedia GmbH, Germany’s second-largest cable operator.
““I am grateful to Tom and the Board for entrusting me with this appointment and the incredible opportunity to lead this top-flight management team and company,” said Winfrey, in a statement. “I am deeply committed to Charter’s success and will continue our track record of delivering the best connectivity products and service to our customers, investing in the careers of our employees, and building long-term value for shareholders.”
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