Time Warner Cable Boss Glenn Britt to Retire

COO Robert Marcus takes the reins on Jan. 1

The rumors have been flying around since last winter, but Time Warner Cable on Thursday finally made it official, announcing that chairman and CEO Glenn Britt would retire when his contract expires at the end of the year.

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Britt, who has served as CEO of the nation’s second-largest cable operator for the last 12 years, will be succeeded by TWC president and chief operating officer Robert Marcus.

After the torch is passed, Britt will retain a seat on the company’s board of directors, in a nonexecutive capacity.

The 64-year-old Britt was effusive in his praise of Marcus. “I love this business, but I’m ready to retire knowing Rob is ready to lead,” Britt said, by way of announcing his decision. “I have worked with Rob for more than 20 years in his various roles, and worked side by side with him for nearly eight years as a member of the TWC senior management team. He is an accomplished executive, a strong strategic decision maker, and has a deep understanding of our company, our industry and what it will take to lead TWC into the future.”

Over the course of Britt’s stewardship, TWC has grown from a $6 billion division of Time Warner Inc., to a national powerhouse with a market cap of $34.1 billion.

Cable’s biggest trade organization was quick to trot out an encomium for the departing TWC chief. “Glenn Britt has been one of the cable industry’s visionary leaders for many years and his impact on the industry will be felt for decades to come,” said NCTA president and CEO Michael Powell. “Glenn has not only impressively led Time Warner Cable during a period of exciting innovation and significant change in the cable industry, but … [he] has always served with dignity and grace and he deserves the industry’s praise during the remaining months of his tenure. We wish him all the best as he looks toward retirement.”

Marcus, 48, worked closely with Britt during the cable company’s split from Time Warner. He also was instrumental in TWC and Comcast’s 2006 acquisition of Adelphia’s revenue-generating assets. Upon closure of the $17.6 billion deal, Time Warner had gained approximately 3.3 million basic subscribers, while Comcast picked up 1.7 million paying customers.

“I am honored to succeed Glenn when he retires at the end of the year,” Marcus said. “Time Warner Cable is a great company, and I have tremendous respect for the commitment, intellect and inspirational vision with which Glenn has led us.”

The announcement comes at something of a tumultuous time for TWC, which is embroiled in a carriage scrap with CBS and being sized up for an acquisition by Liberty Media chairman John Malone.

By all accounts, Britt isn’t interested in joining forces with Charter Communications, in which Liberty owns a minority stake. In fact, TWC may be looking to make some acquisitions of its own; the company reportedly has reached out to Cox Communications and Cablevision to discuss possible mergers.

Shares of TWC in after-hours trading fell 1.06 percent, or $1.24, to $115.98. The company’s stock price has risen 19 percent since the year began.