Barry L. Babcock, 52, vice chairman and a cofounder of
Charter Communications, will leave the company "in the near future."
Babcock was one of three former Cencom Cable Associates
Inc. executives who formed Charter in 1994. Four years later, Microsoft Corp. cofounder
Paul Allen bought a controlling stake in the MSO for $4.5 billion.
"I feel that this is the appropriate time to leave
Charter," Babcock said in a prepared statement last week. "The company is in the
capable hands of [Charter president and CEO] Jerry Kent and his outstanding management
team. One of my greatest accomplishments was helping to build that team."
He added, "As for my future, I am definitely not
retiring, so I will be considering options when the time is right."
Although Babcock did not give an exact date for his
departure, it is generally believed that he will stay on until March.
The resignation comes shortly before Charter is expected to
begin a $3.7 billion initial public offering, tentatively set for the week of Nov. 1.
Babcock will assist Kent and the rest of the Charter
management team in the transition during the next few months.
A lawyer by training, Babcock has been an industry fixture
for about 20 years, and he has been Charter's main representative at industry
Only a few weeks ago, Babcock defended Allen's $1.6
billion investment -- through his Vulcan Ventures Inc. investment vehicle -- in
overbuilder RCN Corp. At East Coast Cable '99 in Baltimore, Babcock tried to
alleviate operators' fears that the investment signaled a new overbuilder strategy at
Most analysts didn't see Babcock's departure as
having a major effect on the company's plans going forward, particularly the IPO.
Many said that while Babcock was an integral part of the company, much of the dealmaking
has been handled by Kent, Allen and Vulcan president William Savoy.