Time Warner Cable didn’t have to look far for its new chief operating officer, promoting former chief financial officer Landel Hobbs to the position vacated earlier this year by the retirements of John Billock and Tom Baxter.
Hobbs had been executive vice president and CFO of the cable division since 2001.
He’s a longtime Time Warner executive, having joined Turner Broadcasting System Inc. in 1993 (acquired by Time Warner in 1995), where he served as senior vice president, controller and chief accounting officer. He moved to Time Warner Inc. (then AOL Time Warner) in 2000 as vice president financial analysis and operations support.
“Landel has demonstrated strong leadership qualities and he has shown the kind of judgment required to take on this very important assignment,” Britt said in a statement. “Landel understands the many inter-working parts of this business and he has a keen knowledge of the operational imperatives our division presidents and regional management deal with on a daily basis.”
In an interview, Hobbs said that he has three priorities in his new position: product innovation, smart marketing and customer care.
Hobbs said the groundwork has already been laid in all three initiatives — Time Warner Cable has always been known as a product innovator, hired a new chief marketing officer (Sam Howe) and is testing a data warehousing initiative to make customer information readily available to marketers.
On the customer-care front, Hobbs said Time Warner has been very good at workforce management and plant monitoring, but needs to improve the dissemination of information to customer-care representatives and technicians.
“Where I’m going to focus is culture and approach,” Hobbs said. “We’ve got to be a customer-oriented company.”
Hobbs also said that integrating the 3.5 million subscribers Time Warner will get as part of the Adelphia Communications Corp. acquisition will also be a top priority. Executive vice president William Goetz, who had been in charge of the Texas, Los Angeles and Memphis, Tenn., regions, is heading up the Adelphia integration.
Earlier this year, Time Warner rejiggered some of its regional executive vice presidents, putting them closer to the field.
“We’ve done a tremendous amount of planning,” Hobbs said. “We’re approaching it from a regional perspective and a functional perspective, where we’ve got SWAT teams that are focused on those areas to make sure we’re up and running as fast as we can day one when it closes.”
The Adelphia acquisition is expected to close by the first quarter of next year.
Filling Hobbs’s CFO position will be former senior vice president of investor relations John Martin. He’s a 12-year veteran of Time Warner Inc., starting in 1993 but taking two years off between 2000 and 2002, when he was an equity analyst at ABN AMRO. He rejoined Time Warner in 2002 as director of investor relations at the parent company.
Separately, Time Warner Cable said it named Time Warner Inc. senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions Robert Marcus senior executive vice president. In the newly created position, Marcus will oversee the cable unit’s mergers and acquisitions, its programming affiliation relationships and its legal and human resources departments. Marcus will also take a lead role in overall business strategy development.