Charter Announces Restructuring, Cuts


Pink slips are imminent at Charter Communications Inc. as the struggling
MSO announced a major restructuring Tuesday aimed at streamlining operations.

The St. Louis-based MSO is redrawing its corporate structure, pooling operations into five geographic clusters that serve an average of 250,000 subscribers each.

It is also looking to streamline operations, and that includes major
work-force reductions to be determined by the end of the year.

Under the new plan, each of the five divisions will report to Margaret Bellville, who was named executive vice president of operations last week.

Bellville, a former Cox Communications Inc. operations chief, takes over much of the duties from chief operating officer Dave Barford, who was placed on paid leave in October.

She will also oversee marketing, programming and customer care.

President and CEO Carl Vogel said the reorganization is sensible given the company's acquisition of 14 systems in the past three years.

"Having rebuilt and upgraded about 87 percent of our plant, it's necessary now to identify and capitalize on efficiencies in our operating organization," he said in a release. "This flattened organization will eliminate management layers and reduce redundancy, allowing decisions to be made closer to the customer and resulting in streamlined operations, improved communication and more effective execution."

Charter expects the restructuring to be largely complete
within the first quarter of 2003, and it estimated that savings will be
presented with its fourth-quarter earnings report, to be issued in February.