MediaOne Group Inc. executive vice president of operations
Ron Cooper announced his resignation last week after 17 years with MediaOne and its
predecessor, Contintental Cablevision Inc.
Cooper said he probably wouldn't be replaced. Instead,
regional senior vice presidents who reported to him will report directly to MediaOne CEO
Jan Peters, pending the company's sale to AT&T Corp.
Cooper said the sale to AT&T did not play directly into
his decision to leave, adding that MediaOne was still very much focused on its
"This is a good opportunity for me to sit back and
take a little bit of a breather" while exploring future opportunities, Cooper said,
adding that he was looking forward to enjoying the summer with his family.
Cooper's exit package, plus his stake as a major
MediaOne shareholder, gave him the luxury of taking time off.
When MediaOne decided to move Continental's executive
staff from Boston to Denver in 1997, Cooper was the most senior executive to make the
move. Former Continental chairman Amos Hostetter quit the company in protest, followed by
Over the past few years, other former Continental
executives from both Denver and the field have also left MediaOne. Observers have pointed
to the challenge of working within the culture of a telephone company.
While the news was not altogether unexpected, some industry
associates expressed a mixture of praise for Cooper and sadness at his departure from the
"It's the company's loss and the
industry's loss if he doesn't re-enter," former Marcus Cable chief
operating officer Lou Borrelli said. "He deserves a rest, and then I hope he comes
back with a vengeance."
Despite ongoing industry consolidation, including within
the Denver area, those who know Cooper don't think he'd have trouble finding
another high-level operations position in cable if he wanted one.
MSOs with clusters in the 1 million-plus-subscriber range
that plan to launch a range of new products will need executives with experience in all of
those environments, and "that is extremely tough talent to find," Dove
Associates managing director Bob Davis said.
Under Cooper, MediaOne expanded its video lineup to include
digital in at least one market, added high-speed-data service in many markets and also had
several telephony launches. "A lot of people are talking about it, but MediaOne has
done it," Davis said.
Cooper said he would also consider related fields such as
content, interactive services and the Internet. He hasn't ruled out working for a
smaller company, or even a start-up.