Outgoing Charter CEO Tom Rutledge says in an exclusive CNBC interview that there’s ‘pain to come’ as linear TV gives way to streaming

by | Nov 3, 2022 | Business

Charter Communications Chief Executive Officer Tom Rutledge will be stepping down as the company’s CEO on Dec. 1. He will remain as executive chairman until November 2023, when his contract expires.Rutledge referred to his decision to leave as “retirement,” but the 70-year-old executive, who has been in the industry for 50 years, told CNBC in an exclusive interview he isn’t ready to leave the business completely.When Rutledge took over Charter in 2012, the company had just emerged from bankruptcy. At the time, it had a market valuation of less than $6 billion. By September 2021, fueled by the company’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable five years earlier, the company’s market capitalization hit about $130 billion.This year hasn’t been as kind to Rutledge or Charter investors, as shares have fallen 47%. Charter’s current market valuation is about $55 billion.In a wide-ranging interview, Rutledge discussed cable’s future, the industry’s recent valuation dip, the distressed futures of broadcast and cable TV, competition from fixed wireless and fiber, and why he felt bold enough to acquire Time Warner Cable in 2016.This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and length.CNBC’s Alex Sherman: Why retire now?Tom Rutledge: Well, that’s a good question. You know, a couple of years ago, I started this planning process. Fifty years ago, I’d actually had a family emergency. I was traveling the world and came home [instead of going to college] and started as a technician in cable, Aug. 15, 1972. I came home and worked my way through college as a tech. I wasn’t planning on getting into the cable business. But obviously I’ve spent my entire career in cable and I really like it, and I really think there’s a lot more to come in terms of opportunity. And so a couple of years ago, I t …

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