Judi Allen, senior vice president of marketing and
programming for Century Communications Corp., has resigned to 'pursue other
opportunities' in the industry.
Allen becomes the second major marketing executive to leave
a top 10 MSO in the last few months. Terry Neill resigned as vice president of marketing
at Cox Communications Inc. late last year after a little more than two years on the job.
Cox had kept Neill's departure under wraps and would not comment on the resignation.
Reached at home in Atlanta, Neill said he resigned because
he had accomplished all that he could at the MSO with his marketing 'skill set.'
He said he left Cox on 'very good terms' and would 'pursue opportunities on
the programming side of the business,' which, he added, was closer aligned with his
experience as a brand manager at Coca-Cola.
Dan Gold, president of Century Cable, lavished praise on
Allen, who joined Century over five years ago as vice president of marketing and public
'We're very, very, very sorry she's
leaving,' Gold said. 'I can't think of a more professional, competent,
nice, energetic and bright person. She's made numerous contributions to Century,
including making this a more professional marketing organization. We're all going to
miss her very much.'
Allen, in turn, called working at Century a 'wonderful
opportunity' that had simply run its course after five-and-a- half years, and said
she's 'excited about what the future will bring.'
Gold said she would not be replaced. Her responsibilities
will be divided among Carter Bland, vice president of programming, and Sandy Styer, vice
president of marketing; both will report to Gold.
Allen, who previously worked for Merrill Lynch and as vice
president of national accounts, affiliate relations for USA Network, said she was
'most proud' of her hires, including Bland and Styer, and 'the delicate
balance of centralization and decentralization that we manage at Century.'
'Feeding the core business and managing cash
flow' remain the most critical issues for cable marketers, Allen said.
'We're still very dependent on our core video business
and it's difficult to manage margins if you step up
marketing expenses the way marketers would like to.'
Gold said Century, which has 1.5 million subscribers and is
based in New Canaan, Conn., is concentrating its efforts on its new partnership with
Tele-Communications Inc. in Southern California, covering 800,000 subscribers, and the
completion of integrating local systems west of the Mississippi into the company's
new call center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Century will deploy digital set-top boxes slowly this year,
Gold added. 'The economics of it are very difficult,' he said. 'You have to
be very careful.'
At Cox, Fred Bristol, executive director of marketing, has
been acting head of the department, according to Dave Andersen, vice president of public
affairs and communications. Cox is currently conducting an 'active search'
through a search firm for Neill's replacement, Andersen said.
Neill said he was particularly proud of enhancing
Cox's image to 'exceed that of the local phone company' as a result of a
national image-branding campaign.
Some sources close to the company said Neill had had
differences with Cox's powerful marketing executives in the field, but he said he
denied any such problems.
He did, however, say that while cable operators need a good
combination of marketing centralization and decentralization, including the
'flexibility to respond' that came from decentralization, an 'overriding
consistency to branding does not lend itself well to decentralization.'