Transatlantic Kibitzing Drives Out Virgin Media Ceo

22 August 2007

LONDON: According to News Corporation's UK voice The Times, Virgin Media ceo Stephen Burch (pictured) resigned Tuesday. That much is fact, confirmed by several other global business news sources.

From this point onward, however, readers may wish to adjust their cynicism sensors.

VM peddles a range of pick'n'mix offerings - a plethora of TV channels plus telecoms services comprising fixed line, cellphone and broadband internet.

The company also happens to be the sole competitor to NewsCorp-controlled UK satellite monopoly BSkyB, which peddles an identical offering and is run by James Murdoch, younger son of NewsCorp chairman/ceo Rupert.

This cut-throat competitive situation would not, of course, in any way colour The Times' coverage of Burch's resignation. [At which point, readers should insert a new battery into their cynicism sensors.]

According to The Times, Burch, was driven to resign after a "a series of boardroom rows with Jim Mooney, [Virgin Media's] chairman, and Bill Huff, [a key investor], left him with little choice but to leave the cable company after just eighteen months".

All concerned are US nationals - predictably, since VM is majority-owned by US investors.

Burch purportedly resigned for "family and personal reasons", his anguish eased by a $7 million (€5.19m; £3.53m) payoff - conditional, says The Times, on his agreement not to advise any would-be bidders for Virgin Media over the next twelve months.

The Murdoch organ also writes: "Burch, although nominally chief executive, is described by Virgin insiders as 'third in the hierarchy, at best', at a company where 'decisions that should be taken in the UK were being made in the United States'."

Humbug-spotters will relish the last nineteen words of the preceding paragraph, given their source.

Data sourced from The Times (UK); additional content by WARC staff