CableLabs Board Interviews Initial CEO Candidates: Sources

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The board of CableLabs has interviewed three candidates for the CEO position to replace outgoing chief Paul Liao, according to several industry sources -- but it's not clear whether the R&D consortium is close to making a final decision on a new hire.

CableLabs' search for a replacement kicked off more than five months ago after Liao announced last October that he would not renew his contract, which expires in December 2012. Liao cited personal reasons for his departure.

Earlier this year, CableLabs enlisted a Silicon Valley-based executive recruitment firm to select a new CEO. According to sources, the first three candidates were interviewed by some -- but not all -- of CableLabs' board members during the consortium's board meeting in Washington, D.C., the week of March 19.

CableLabs declined to comment.

"The search is certainly going slower than they had hoped," an industry source familiar with CableLabs said.

The CEO of CableLabs calls for a unique blend of skills: The role is as much about building consensus among the MSO members as it is about setting the technical direction for the cable industry.

Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner and Time Warner Cable CTO Mike LaJoie are spearheading the CableLabs search committee. Sources did not know (or would not reveal) the names of the three finalists called in for the first round of interviews. Sources said none of the CEO candidates are current CableLabs employees.

At this point, the CableLabs search committee could make a selection from the three CEO candidates, or it could decide to bring in another round of prospects, sources said.

Liao, formerly the chief technology officer of Panasonic, was hired as CableLabs CEO in 2009 after the consortium reviewed about 100 candidates to replace Dick Green, who had run CableLabs since it was founded in 1988. That search that took about six months.

Louisville, Colo.-based CableLabs is owned by 40 cable operators in the U.S. and internationally.

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