U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert E. Gerber gave Adelphia Communications
Corp. the green light to hire Bill Schleyer and Ron Cooper as its top two
executives, with one minor provision to their contracts.
Adelphia announced that it had hired Schleyer, former CEO of AT&T
Broadband, as its chairman and CEO Jan. 17. Cooper, former chief operating
officer of AT&T Broadband, was named Adelphia COO the same day.
However, because Adelphia is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the court had to
approve the appointments.
The court heard arguments on the contracts over four days last week.
Gerber rejected the claims of Adelphia's equity-shareholder committee that
the contracts for the two men -- worth a combined $40 million over three years
-- were excessive.
But he backed their claim -- at least in the interim -- that a "good-reason"
provision that would give Schleyer up to $7.6 million if Adelphia ever decided
to hire another individual as chairman was a "disincentive."
Schleyer's attorney, Phil Mindlin of Wachtel, Lipton Rosen & Katz, said
in court that Schleyer agreed to the modification.
Schleyer and Cooper will assume their positions immediately.
"We are pleased and excited to embark upon the complex challenge and
extraordinary opportunity of rebuilding Adelphia," Schleyer and Cooper said in a
"We begin the restructuring effort with a skilled and dedicated employee
base, a core commitment to customer service, an advanced set of cable and
broadband offerings and strong operations in eight regions nationwide," they
"These significant assets will enable us to hit the ground running in our
effort to better serve Adelphia customers and regain the confidence of all
stakeholders," the statement continued.
"We will augment this considerable foundation with a talented management team
-- comprised of old and new faces -- capable of leading our effective and
efficient restructuring effort," Schleyer and Cooper added.