Lovett Named Charter CEO


As expected, Charter Communications did not have to look far for a replacement for CEO Neil Smit, naming interim CEO Mike Lovett to the position Monday. In making the announcement, Charter said that its chief financial Eloise Schmitz will leave the company when her contract expires in July.

Lovett, who joined Charter in 2003, has most recently served as chief operating officer. He took over as interim CEO after Smit resigned in March to become president of Comcast Cable. Lovett will also become a member of Charter's board of directors.

Charter conducted a national search for Smit's replacement after the former CEO announced he would leave in January.

Michael Lovett of Charter

"Mike has sound strategic vision, strong operational skills and a commitment to leading Charter in delivering an exceptional experience to its customers, making him clearly the best candidate for this position," said Charter chairman Eric Zinterhofer in a statement. "With impeccable industry credentials, Mike has been a key member of the Charter leadership team for many years and his professionalism and leadership will serve Charter well as we enter the next phase."

Lovett helped steer Charter through its recent bankruptcy, which eliminated about $8 billion in debt and pumped $3 billion in new equity into the St., Louis-based MSO. Charter, the nation's fourth largest cable operator with about 5 million customers, has performed along with its peers despite completing a lengthy and complicated restructuring.

"During the past year Charter has produced significant accomplishments, and I want to thank all of our employees for their focus and dedication," Lovett said in a statement. "We are committed to delivering the most robust high-speed Internet, video, and phone solutions to both consumers and businesses, and I see tremendous opportunity for Charter to build on our strong foundation to meet our customers' evolving needs and exceed their expectations. With a stronger balance sheet and solid operations, we are well positioned to capture that opportunity."

Schmitz, who was named CFO in 2008, has been with Charter in various finance roles since 1998. Schmitz will remain with Charter on an interim basis to facilitate a smooth transition while a search is conducted.

"Eloise was part of the team that built this company, and we greatly appreciate her leadership over the past 12 years," Lovett said. "We're grateful for her guidance throughout the restructuring, which significantly improved the Company's balance sheet and financial flexibility. We wish her well in her future endeavors."