Tony Werner, currently senior vice president and chief technology officer at Liberty Global and former CTO of AT&T Broadband, Qwest Communications International, Tele-Communications Inc. and equipment manufacturer Aurora Networks, will take the top technical spot at Comcast next month.
Outgoing CTO Dave Fellows, a Werner contemporary, will remain involved via a consulting arrangement.
Currently, Werner oversees technical strategy and direction for Liberty Global’s systems, which serve 22.5 million customers in Japan, Puerto Rico, Chile and 11 European countries. He is widely acknowledged as a clear and thorough communicator, with strong technical and financial intelligence.
At Comcast, Werner will guide on long-term technology strategy, including next-generation architectures, security, advertising methods and associated components.
Last week’s bombshell news that cable-side godfather John Malone would take control of direct-broadcast satellite leader DirecTV had nothing to do with Werner’s decision to exit. “Liberty Global and Liberty Media are really separate companies,” Werner said.
The transition between CTOs is more a baton passing than a flash cut, both Werner and Fellows said.
“One of the great things about Tony being my successor is, no one can argue with it,” Fellows said, adding: “There’s no one who thinks they’re better than Tony. I don’t think I’m better than Tony.”
Werner and Fellows share a long history of technical collaboration through Cable Television Laboratories and other industry activities.
In today’s world of massive transitions -- analog to digital, hardware to software, bundle to cross-platform -- finding a CTO with the right breadth and depth of knowledge isn’t easy. Comcast’s search began in June, when Fellows announced his transition to executive fellow for the No. 1 MSO.
Fellows’ stated reason for the transition was the five years of weekly commutes from Boston, where he lives, to Philadelphia, where Comcast is headquartered. “The time has come to transition into a new relationship with Comcast,” he said at the time.
Werner, who turned 50 in November, lives in the Denver area with Laurel, his wife, whom he married in August, and his daughter, Cara. He plans to spend every other month in Philadelphia until Cara finishes high school.
Werner finishes up at Liberty Global Dec. 29 and begins at Comcast Jan. 1.