Debt-Beset Telewest Ousts Chief Executive

01 August 2002

US-owned cable network Telewest, whose operations are primarily UK-based, yesterday (Wednesday) ousted chief executive Adam Singer, claiming that its manifold problems would be better resolved by a change in management style.

Said Anthony ‘Cob’ Stenham, Telewest’s impeccably ‘establishment’ non-executive chairman: “Given our current financial position, the independent directors believe the company needs a different management style to take the business through its next phase.”

It seems that the “current financial position” and the “next phase” [almost certainly a debt-for-equity restructuring] referred to by Stenham require a less entrepreneurial and flamboyant management style than that for which Singer is renowned. This will be provided by Telewest financial director Charles Burdick, who moves into the new position of managing director.

Singer claimed as recently as March that Telewest, saddled with around £5.3 billion ($8.22bn; €8.45bn) of debt, was not facing a liquidity crisis – and that it would not be necessary to undergo a ‘debt-for-equity’ swap along the lines of that currently in process by rival UK cable operator NTL.

Some industry observers suspect the shock firing has not come as a surprise to US cable entrepreneur John Malone, whose investment vehicle Liberty Media holds a 25% stake in Telewest.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff