Adelphia Communications Corp. last week named two new independent members to its board of directors — former Federal Communications Commission commissioner Susan Ness and former Time Warner Inc. executive Philip Lochner Jr.
The appointments are part of a plan by Adelphia chairman and CEO William Schleyer to bring more independent voices to the company's board. The appointments are effective May 21 and elevate Adelphia's board to nine members.
Current members are Schleyer; former Adelphia chairman Erland Kailbourne; FPL Group Inc. general counsel Dennis Coyle; Caithness Corp. president Leslie Gelber; Mannesmann Dematic Systems managing director Peter Metros; former Renaissance Cable vice chairman Rod Cornelius; and Yale Law School dean Anthony Kronman.
It's expected that Kailbourne, Metros, Gelber and Coyle — all appointees of former Adelphia chairman and cofounder John Rigas — will resign from the board at some point.
Although Adelphia had no comment on the status of those board members, in the past Schleyer said that he would be looking to reconfigure the board of directors.
Rigas, along with his sons — Timothy, the former chief financial officer, and Michael, the former executive vice president of operations — were indicted on federal charges of fraud and conspiracy in September. They have denied the charges. A trial is scheduled to begin in January.
Cornelius's status also is in question. Although he was appointed to the board after the Rigases resigned, Cornelius was in line to become CEO of Adelphia. He was offered the job in September, but that offer was pulled after Schleyer and former AT&T Broadband executive Ron Cooper (now Adelphia's president and chief operating officer) became available.
Adelphia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June.
Lochner is a former senior vice president and chief administrative officer at Time Warner. He served as a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1990 to 1991.
Ness had been an FCC commissioner for seven years before leaving the agency in 2001. She currently is a consultant to media and communications companies and lectures frequently on communications policy.
"These elections are a continuation of our promise to expand the Board's corporate governance, legal and policy expertise," Schleyer said in a statement.