BY ANDREA FIGLER Adelphia Communications will name former AT&T Broadband chief William Schleyer as its new CEO. The announcement is expected as early as this week. Reached at his home in New Hampshire, Schleyer declined comment. But a person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed that board approval is all but certain. One of the issues that kept Schleyer from accepting the position earlier was Adelphia’s remote headquarters in Coudersport, Pa. However, Schleyer is said to have negotiated an arrangement that will allow him to move a small portion of the headquarters to Denver. A majority of the headquarters staff, however, will remain in Coudersport. Whether Schleyer’s right-hand man Ron Cooper, the former COO of AT&T Broadband, will also join Adelphia remains unclear. Cooper, reached at his home in Denver, would not comment on his potential role. In November, news began to circulate that Schleyer and Cooper would take over management of the bankrupt cable operator once their positions dissolved after the Comcast/AT&T merger. Talks with the first potential CEO candidate, Adelphia board member Rod Cornelius, reportedly broke down by that time. Adelphia’s problems all started when its founders, the Rigas family, stepped down in the spring amid pressure stemming from their questionable financial strategies, which helped push the company into bankruptcy. Erland Kailbourne, who has been serving as the interim chairman and CEO since the Rigas departure, has since been trying to land a CEO that will lead the operator back into financial solvency. The cable operator filed for bankruptcy protection June 25. A month later, John Rigas and his sons Timothy and Michael were arrested along with Adelphia’s former VP of finance James Brown and former director of internal reporting Michael Mulcahey. They were charged with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud, among other things. The case alleges that the defendants shifted debt from one company to the next, created phony documents and inflated subscriber numbers. In total, the U.S. Attorney General’s office claims that Adelphia hid $2.3 billion in debt from the books. Since the bankruptcy and lawsuits, Adelphia has been looking for ways to salvage its existing systems and bring in extra revenue. Last month, Kailbourne told Adelphia employees that the cable operator would begin offering adult fare starting in January, according to a memo obtained by Cable World. John Rigas previously forbid his systems from airing adult content. While Adelphia’s board is also currently reviewing which systems it may sell to help ease its financial woes, no decision will be made until Schleyer comes on board, the company source says.

The Daily


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