After about eight years with the company, Charter Communications Inc.
president and CEO Jerald Kent announced that he will resign at the end of the
Kent was one of the founding members of Charter, which was started in 1993 by
a team from the former Cencom Cable Associates Inc.
He helped to build Charter into a 1.3 million-subscriber MSO and steered the
company through its acquisition in 1998 by Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul
After the Allen acquisition, Kent helped to engineer a series of system
purchases that grew Charter's subscriber base to 6.4 million, making it the
country's fourth-largest MSO.
Kent's decision came as a surprise to Charter employees. According to a
spokesman, Kent said he is leaving the company to 'follow his entrepreneurial
Kent's last day at Charter will be Sept. 28, the spokesman said. He is also
resigning from Charter's board of directors, and he will sell his stock holdings
in the company to Charter chairman Paul Allen.
Charter spokesman Dave Andersen said that in the interim, chief operating
officer Dave Barford and chief financial officer Kent Kalkwarf will assume
Kent's responsibilities. Barford and Kalkwarf will report to an executive
committee that includes Charter chairman Paul Allen and Charter director and
Vulcan Ventures Inc. president William Savoy. Vulcan is Allen's personal
Andersen said that while the search is on for a permanent replacement for
Kent, no decision has been made yet.
Speculation has been rampant among several sources who lacked inside
knowledge of the situation that the leading candidate to be Kent's replacement
is Liberty Satellite & Technology president Carl Vogel.
Andersen would not comment on potential candidates or on when a replacement
would be named.
'I'm sure Paul Allen would like to have somebody here sooner rather than
later,' Andersen said. 'We're not in a panic situation.'
Charter stock was one of the biggest losers on the NASDAQ exchange Monday,
closing at $12.81 per share, down $3.81, or 20 percent.
'As a cofounder of Charter, this was a gut-wrenching decision,' Kent said in
a prepared statement. 'The years I spent building Charter into one of the
nation's largest and most successful cable companies have been the most
challenging and rewarding in my career. I am proud of what the Charter team has
accomplished. I am grateful to Paul Allen for his support, which permitted us to
successfully complete the major acquisitions that allowed Charter to grow so
substantially, and for his vision of a `Wired World.''
Kent's departure will leave a void in Charter management, at least for the
short term. The company said it is looking for a replacement CEO, and it is
considering all possibilities.
'Jerry did an excellent job as Charter's chief executive officer,' Allen said
in a prepared statement. 'We are grateful for all that Jerry has done in
contributing to Charter's success, and we wish him well in whatever new
endeavors he engages in.'