Paul Allen Sheds Chairman Role at Charter

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Charter Communications may have emerged from bankruptcy protection a few days ago armed with a strong balance sheet and a lighter debt load, but it appears as if it will have to weather the future without Paul Allen at the helm.

Allen, whose billions helped create Charter through a series of acquisitions during the height of the cable consolidation frenzy, was not listed as a member in a recent press release announcing new appointments to Charter's board of directors.

Charter chairman Paul Allen

Another board member, Apollo Management partner Eric Zinterhofer, was listed as chairman of the board of directors.

In a statement, Vulcan spokesman David Postman confirmed that Allen was no longer Charter's chairman nor does he have a seat on the board of directors.

Allen would still be the largest holder of Charter's voting stock with 35% and has the right to elect four of the 11 members of Charter's board of directors.

Currently, Charter's board stands at nine members: Robert Cohn, the founder and former chairman and CEO of telecommunications equipment pioneer Octel Inc.; Vulcan Capital president W. Lance Conn; Apollo Management principal Darren Glatt, Oaktree Capital Management president Bruce Karsh; Columbia Capital executive John Markley, Jr.; Vulcan executive vice president of legal and general counsel Bill McGrath; Charter CEO Neil Smit; Vulcan executive vice president of investment management Christopher Temple and Zinterhofer.

The remaining two board members will be elected by a majority of the nine current members, according to Charter.

"Charter is emerging from this process as a stronger company with a much improved balance sheet that will enable Neil [Smit] and team to continue to deliver the highest quality video, Internet and telephone services to customers over the long-term," Allen said in a statement. "We look forward to working with our fellow board members to support the success of the business."

The news comes shortly after it was revealed that Allen, who more than 25 years ago beat Hodgkin's disease, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  It could not be determined if his status at Charter was connected to his health issues.

Allen, who with Bill Gates founded software juggernaut Microsoft Corp., has had less luck with his other investments. He has reportedly pumped more than $7 billion of his own money into Charter.

The St. Louis-based MSO emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 30. Charter had filed for bankruptcy protection on March 27 after reaching a prepackaged deal with a group of bondholders, including Apollo Management, the New York private equity giant run by Leon Black, and Oaktree Capital.

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