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Charter CEO Carl Vogel Resigns

Jan 18, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Charter Communications on Tuesday said President and CEO Carl Vogel has resigned from the beleaguered cable company, and that board member Robert May will serve as temporary CEO.

The company did not provide details behind Mr. Vogel’s resignation, which comes less than a year before his employment contract was set to expire. However, the company said Mr. Vogel and Charter’s board mutually agreed that he would leave the company. Mr. Vogel also gave up his board seat.

Charter said it is immediately launching a search for a replacement. The company is also looking for a permanent chief financial officer and a chief operating officer.

Mr. Vogel, a former Liberty Media and AT&T Broadband executive, joined Charter in October 2001 and was tasked with helping to stage a turnaround at the St. Louis-based company, which had faltered under a mountain of debt incurred by a spate of acquisitions and until last fall was the target of a federal probe into accounting misdeeds.

News of Mr. Vogel’s departure sent Charter shares tumbling more than 4 percent to around $1.96 a share Tuesday.

Mr. Vogel’s departure comes at a particularly delicate time for Charter, which continues to struggle under $18.5 billion in debt. That debt load has held back the company as it attempts to reverse its contracting subscriber base in the face of stiff competition from satellite operators.

The resignation could spur a wave of further departures, several analysts speculate. Several Wall Street analysts said they weren’t surprised by Mr. Vogel’s resignation, with Fulcrum Global Partners analyst Richard Greenfield noting that Mr. Vogel often differed with majority shareholder and Chairman Paul Allen over how to reduce Charter’s leverage.

Mr. May said Tuesday that the company is not postponing the launch of its turnaround strategy while it searches for a permanent CEO, saying the company will focus immediately on improving customer service as a means to reverse Charter’s persistent subscriber slide. He said there are no plans for executive retention initiatives in order to keep top talent in place.