Tempest-Tossed TWC Gives Helm to New COO

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In a move that seeks to quell takeover talk, Time Warner Cable said it has hired seasoned cable executive Dinni Jain as chief operating officer, charged with righting the foundering cable giant as it fights off overtures from potentially hostile suitors.

Jain will assume his new role on Jan. 13 and will report directly to incoming chairman and CEO Rob Marcus.

Marcus, currently TWC’s COO, is slated to replace retiring chairman and CEO Glenn Britt on Jan. 1.

Jain will be in charge of all three lines of TWC business — residential services, business services and media sales. He also will be responsible for the New York-based MSO’s technology and network operations, product development and content-acquisition functions, as well as its news, local sports and regional sports networks.

“Dinni is a proven leader, with more than 20 years of experience in successfully operating cable systems,” Marcus said in a statement. “He has a great track record and shares my commitment to creating a performance-driven, customer-centric culture at Time Warner Cable.”

Jain was the former COO at Insight Communications, which Time Warner Cable purchased in 2012 for about $3 billion. While at Insight, Jain was known as a savvy operations executive noted for growing basic-video subscribers at the midsized cable company through a program of aggressive door-to-door sales, repackaging and repricing products, and improving customer service. For example, between 2004 and 2009, Insight added 138,500 basic-video customers, grew revenue by an average of 13.6% a year and increased cash-flow growth by 10.8% per annum.

That would seem to fit in nicely with Marcus’ plans to reverse TWC’s past subscriber losses. In the third quarter, the MSO shed about 306,000 residential video subscribers in the aftermath of the one-month blackout of CBS programming in three top markets. As other cable companies have improved losses over the past several quarters, TWC’s basic-video declines have increased.

In a conference call with reporters to discuss third-quarter results on Oct. 31, Marcus said Time Warner Cable has developed a strategy to revamp customer service, improve network reliability, be all-digital, and implement “quantum changes” in its high-speed data tiers.

In the meantime, TWC continues to resist possible overtures from other MSOs, including Charter Communications — which has reportedly assembled $25 billion in bank financing for a deal that could be valued as high as $70 billion — as well Comcast and Cox Communications.

To date, no formal offers for the company have been reported.  

TAKEAWAY

Time Warner Cable has tapped former Insight executive Dinni Jain as chief operating officer in a move meant to bolster the flagging MSO’s operations as it fights off potentially hostile suitors.

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