COO Shreffler Leaves Kent's Cebridge

11/16/2003 7:00 PM Eastern

Cebridge Connections, the St. Louis-based MSO controlled by former Charter Communications Inc. CEO Jerry Kent, said president and chief operating officer William Shreffler has resigned to pursue other opportunities.

Shreffler's last day at Cebridge was expected to be last Friday [Nov. 14], according to a company spokesman.

Cebridge spokesman Pete Abel said Shreffler decided to resign because of personal reasons and a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity outside of Cebridge" to which he felt he needed to devote his full attention. Citing Shreffler's wishes, Abel would not reveal what that opportunity was.

"He asked that we keep that private," Abel said. "He will be missed."

Cebridge will not replace Shreffler, who joined Cebridge parent Cequel III earlier this year. Kent will expand his duties to include responsibility for all operational activities of the company and will work closely with vice president of operations Dale Bennett.

Former Charter senior vice president of marketing and advertising sales Mary Pat Blake, who had been serving as a consultant with Cebridge, will also work closely with Kent and Bennett on operational issues.

Prior to joining Cequel, Shreffler had been senior vice president of operations for Charter's Midwest division, overseeing operations in Charter's Michigan, Central and National regions, which served roughly 2 million customers in 15 states. Shreffler originally joined Charter in 1999 as vice president of operations for its newly created Michigan region.

Shreffler was one of a flurry of former Charter executives that left the company to join their old boss — Kent — in February and March.

Among those executives were former Charter senior vice president and treasurer Ralph Kelly, now Cequel's executive vice president and chief financial officer; former Charter vice president of programming Patty McCaskill, now senior vice president of programming for Cebridge; and former Charter Eastern division vice president of marketing and programming Tim Morrison, now vice president of marketing for Cebridge. Those executives will remain at their current positions.

Cequel has undergone quite a transformation in the past year. In October, it launched a major rebranding effort — changing the name of its cable operations to Cebridge Connections and embarking on a $100 million upgrade program to bring advanced services to its mostly rural cable systems.

That effort came on the heels of an acquisition binge that started earlier this year, with Cequel's investment and management deal with Classic Communications Inc., which has about 325,000 mostly rural subscribers. Since then, the company has purchased 27,000 subscribers from Shaw Communications Inc. in the Houston area and has agreed to purchase 81,000 customers in 9 states from Alliance Communications.

Once the Alliance deal is closed — expected before the end of the year — Cequel will own or manage about 450,000 subscribers in 14 states, making it the 11th largest MSO in the country.

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