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