Despite helming deeply troubled cable operator NTL into the largest debt default in US corporate history, chief executive Barclay Knapp has survived a vote of confidence by the company’s bondholders – shortly to become its controlling shareholders.
Knapp’s hand was on the tiller throughout the group’s aggressive expansion programme which ultimately led to its crippling by a massive £12 billion ($18.40bn; €18.47bn) debt burden.
NTL, whose shares are traded on the New York Stock exchange and is US controlled, operates primarily in the UK and Ireland. High roller Knapp, a US citizen who manages to run the company despite being domiciled in New Jersey, has not hitherto been flavour of the month with shareholders or bondholders, some of whom have repeatedly called for his resignation.
But Friday’s vote effectively guarantees that Knapp will keep his job when the group’s debt-for equity restructuring is completed in September.
Says Brad Eric Scheler, a representative of NTL’s creditors committee: “During this process we have been working closely with Barclay Knapp and know him well. His determination to ensure NTL continues to prosper and grow is evident in everything he does and we are confident he is the right man to lead the company. NTL's management team has performed admirably throughout this difficult process and we believe they will deliver great things for NTL's future.”
Manfully restraining his emotions at this unexpected eulogy, Knapp responded: “I am gratified by the support of the creditors’ committee – the future majority owners of the company – for my team. We have been working hand in hand with the committee, our banks and all NTL's constituents to complete a successful recapitalisation process as quickly as possible - and we remain on track.”
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff