NTL, the UK’s largest cable group, is to lose managing director/chief operating officer Stephen Carter at the year end. Carter, the former ceo of J Walter Thompson UK Group, moved to US-owned NTL two years ago, since when his main function has been to run the operational side of the business while ceo Barclay Knapp managed the cash – or lack of it.
Currently under US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and floundering in a $20 billion-plus (€20.58bn; £12.92bn) debt quagmire, NTL is struggling toward a debt-for-equity swap with its bondholders. Whilst in the throes of this restructuring, it was announced last month that Knapp’s annual salary of $277,000 will be upped by a factor of more than two-and-a-half to $700,000 [WAMN: 21-Oct-02].
He will also receive a discretionary cash bonus of up to double his salary, and shares worth $700,000 plus an unspecified number of share options. There is also a severance package that guarantees him up to $2.1 million should he be lucky enough to get fired.
In return for this pittance, Knapp is to quit his transatlantic commuting and relocate to London in “a much more hands-on” role rendering Carter redundant – a fortuitous outcome given that the cash-strapped giant needs to recoup a dollar or three to afford its one-for-the-price-of-four ceo remuneration policy.
The usual sayonara machine ground into gear. “Over the past two years Stephen has achieved a great deal at NTL,” eulogized Knapp. “ We are now the clear leader in broadband with 40% market share ... I am sad to see Stephen go and I wish him well.”
Carter was also on autocue: “With Barclay now based in the UK and returning to full-time operations, and with NTL on track to emerge from US Chapter 11 in November, I feel the time is right to move on,” he said.
Carter is unlikely to draw unemployment benefit, his name being already coupled with the vacant ceo positions at Emap and Trinity Mirror.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff