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Thomas Rutledge, Cablevision COO, to resign

Tom Rutledge, Chief Operating Officer, Cablevision Systems Corporation

Tom Rutledge, Chief Operating Officer, Cablevision Systems Corporation Photo Credit: Photo by

Thomas M. Rutledge, chief operating officer of Cablevision Systems Corp., will resign later this month, the company announced Thursday.

Rutledge is the third highest-ranking executive officer at Bethpage-based Cablevision and has been responsible for running day-to-day operations since 2004. He joined the company in 2002 from Time Warner Cable. Cablevision said it has launched a search for a successor.

"Everything I hoped for when I came to Cablevision has come true," Rutledge said in a statement. "I am proud of our record of success and the strong leadership team that remains in place to continue this work."

During Rutledge's tenure, Cablevision bought Newsday, added 300,000 cable subscribers in the western United States by buying Bresnan Communications, added telephone and Wi-Fi services, and upgraded to an all digital, fiber optic network.

"Tom Rutledge has played a key role in driving and shaping Cablevision's success over the last decade, applying a rare combination of technological vision and operational excellence that has delivered results," Cablevision chief executive James L. Dolan said in a statement.

Rutledge's resignation comes as Cablevision faces intense competition from Verizon Communications Inc. Cablevision said Thursday the company "has an experienced senior management team in place overseeing cable and its other businesses."

David C. Joyce, media equity analyst at Miller Tabak + Co. Llc in Manhattan, said investors might be concerned because Rutledge has a key role in dealing with competition from Verizon.

Joyce also said Rutledge, 58, might be a potential candidate to head another cable provider, Charter Communications Inc. in St. Louis. Charter will have an opening for chief executive next year because its current chief executive, Michael Lovett, has announced he is resigning.

A Cablevision spokesman said Thursday that Rutledge, who was paid $28.2 million last year, and other top executives had no comment beyond the company's six-paragraph statement.

Shares of Cablevision rose 1 cent to $13.94 in after-hours trading as of 7:28 Thursday night. The announcement came after the 4 p.m. close of regular trading.

Industry experts praised Rutledge's knowledge of the technical and operational aspects of the rapidly changing cable television business. Cablevision is Long Island's second-largest public company by revenue, after medical equipment supplier Henry Schein Inc.

"Cablevision has done a very good job of dealing with . . . competition," said Bryan Kraft, an analyst at Evercore Partners Inc. in Manhattan. "I think that Tom's resignation is a real loss for the company. I think they are big shoes to fill."

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