Having led his British-based but US owned cable company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings – and eventually out again, thanks to a debt-for-equity restructuring – NTL president/ceo Barclay Knapp on Tuesday called halt and farewell.
And fare well he undoubtedly will, even though no details of his leaving package were announced. Although apparently quitting of his own accord, Knapp stands to gain a cool $1.4 million (€1.24m; £0.87m) as a golden goodbye – twice his basic salary – if he is dismissed before the year end [WAMN: 04-Aug-03]. It will be interesting to learn in due course from the 2003 accounts how closely that sum corresponds to his exit payoff.
His “mission” at NTL has been achieved, Knapp claims, citing the recent restructuring which left US cable entrepreneur John Malone holding the reins and NTL shareholders all but empty-handed [WAMN: 19-Apr-02]. He also pointed to the latest set of quarterly results, much improved thanks to cost-cutting and the easing of the group’s punitive debt burden.
Knap will quit his post at the end of this week but remains a ‘strategy advisor’ until the year end. He is succeeded by chief operating officer Simon Duffy, a former cfo at Orange, who joined NTL in April.
"With this quarter's positive results and the favourable conditions I see ahead for NTL, I believe my mission in bringing NTL through its reorganisation has been accomplished,” claimed Knapp.
“Further, in Simon Duffy the company has a strong new leader who is clearly up to the challenges. I'm stepping down as ceo at close of business on August 15 knowing the company is well positioned and in very good hands.”
Duffy is expected to take NTL down a predetermined route of merger with Britain's only other cable operator, Telewest, in which John Malone also holds the trump card.
Meantime, NTL reported second quarter revenues of £551.3m, up year-on-year from £549m. Pre-tax loss narrowed from £267m to £153m. The group’s high churn rate has also been stemmed, marginally down from Q1’s 13% to 12.9% – albeit a distinct improvement year-on-year when churn hovered around the 17% mark.
Data sourced from: MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff