The National Cable & Telecommunications Association last week announced it has hired Kyle McSlarrow to serve as president and CEO, starting March 1.
NCTA officials declined to disclose Mr. McSlarrow’s salary or the length of the contract. Robert Sachs, NCTA’s current CEO, reportedly receives an annual salary of $1.3 million.
Mr. McSlarrow, 44, who recently announced his resignation as a deputy secretary at the Department of Energy, does not have cable TV industry experience. However, sources who know Mr. McSlarrow say he’s a quick study and his political resume-which includes stints with former Sens. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., and as national chairman for Dan Quayle’s 2000 presidential campaign-more than compensates for his lack of industry knowledge.
“He knows the Senate like the back of his hand,” said Bert Carp, a cable TV lobbyist.
At the Department of Energy, Mr. McSlarrow, who was declining interviews last week, also worked closely with members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee-the House committee with primary jurisdiction over cable TV legislation.
Mr. McSlarrow’s hiring represents a shift in the association’s political alignment, spurred by recognition of the fact that the House, Senate and White House are all currently dominated by Republicans. Mr. Sachs and his three immediate predecessors at the NCTA were Democrats.
Having a GOP connection is expected to be particularly important for cable over the next couple of years because Congress is planning a major rewrite of the nation’s telecommunications law, with do-or-die provisions at stake.
But Glenn Britt, NCTA chairman and chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable, downplayed the significance of Mr. McSlarrow’s political affiliation. “Our issues are really bipartisan,” Mr. Britt said. “We were really looking for the best person we could find who could work with both sides.”
“Kyle’s lengthy record of leadership, accomplishment and experience as a senior aide in the U.S. Senate and in the administration will benefit our industry as we work with legislators and policymakers to ensure that cable can continue to prosper, grow and compete,” added Brian Roberts, Comcast chairman and CEO.