As previously telegraphed, Charter ratcheted up the pressure on Time Warner Cable by proposing a slate of 13 independent candidates to be voted on at TWC’s annual meeting. The list doesn’t feature the biggest names in media, but there are a few well known cable execs in the mix, including Oxygen co-founder Lisa Gersh, respected technologist and former TWC CTO Jim Chiddix and ex-Charter and Motorola exec Marwan Fawaz. Here’s a look at the 13 nominees.
Chiddix knows Time Warner Cable, having served as CTO from ’98-’01, and then he went on to serve as president of MystroTV (TW’s network DVR project that built the groundwork for Start Over and other features). From ’04-’07, he was the chairman/CEO of OpenTV prior to his retirement. He currently serves as a member of Arris’ board. Charter’s take on why he’s a good fit: “Mr. Chiddix would bring rich industry specific technology and product experience, including video experience, to the Board from both an operator and supplier point of view.”
Bruno J. Claude
Claude comes into play with Charter painting Time Warner Cable as a major turnaround project. As non-executive director of Irish telecom operator Eircom Limited, he played a role in the reshuffling of senior management and a turnaround that led to the company being able to access capital markets after 6 years of absence. He has a global perspective that includes stints as president/CEO of Switzerland’s Cablecom and COO of NTL’s continental European operations. Charter says: “He has been active in cable television in the United States and Europe since 1985. His extensive experience in the industry provides him with a strong understanding of the company’s business and its competitive environment.”
Here’s the money man of the board, with Corré a visiting scholar and Lecturer at Harvard Law School, where he teaches a seminar on contemporary issues in executive compensation and corporate governance. He has spent 10 years at global multi-strategy hedge fund Eton Park Capital Management, which he helped found. Before that, he was a partner at NY-based event-driven hedge fund, Scoggin Capital Management. Charter’s take: “Mr. Corré’s extensive business and investment experience would be a valuable asset to the company’s board.”
The former Charter CTO was CEO of Motorola Home for a year, stepping down in May ’13 after Arris completed its acquisition of the business. So, yes, Fawaz has both the Charter connections and the experience of a major merger. Before his 5-year stint at Charter, he served as CTO at Adelphia. Since Jan ’12, he has served as a director of Synacor, a major player in the TV Everywhere space. With 27 years in cable and telecom, Fawaz has “a deep understanding of the cable television industry,” Charter said.
The sole female nominee is Oxygen Media cofounder Lisa Gersh. She was Oxygen’s pres/COO from ’98 from ’07 when it was acquired by NBCU. She went on to serve as president of strategic initiatives as NBCU, where she also was managing director of The Weather Channel Companies. Most recently, she was president/CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, stepping down in Feb ’13. Gersh is currently a director at Hasbro. Charter points to her experience in TV, digital entertainment and publishing. “Ms. Gersh possesses particular knowledge, expertise and perspectives regarding the media and entertainment industries, including the cable television and digital industries; marketing and branding expertise; and expertise in media trends and strategic planning,” the MSO said.
Dexter G. Goei
The investment banker has served as CEO of Altice, a multinational cable and telecom company with a presence in France, Israel, Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal, French Caribbean, French Indian Ocean, Dominican Republic and Switzerland. He spent 16 years as an investment banker, including as Co-Head of Media & Communications Group for Europe, Middle East and Africa (“EMEA”) at Morgan Stanley. Charter’s reasoning: “Mr. Goei’s experience as the Chief Executive Officer of Altice has provided him with a deep understanding of the cable and telecommunications industry, and his prior background as an investment banker has provided him with a high degree of financial expertise. “
Franklin (Fritz) W. Hobbs
Hobbs has served as an advisor to One Equity Partners LLC, a private equity firm, since 2004. Prior to that, Mr. Hobbs was the Chief Executive Officer of Houlihan Lokey. He has served as Chairman of the board of directors of Ally Financial since May 2009, and has been serving as a director of Molson Coors Brewing Company since 2005. He also serves on the board of Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC. “Mr. Hobbs would provide the company’s board with a high level of financial literacy and expertise due to his background as an investment banker and his experience as a chief executive officer,” Charter said.
Neil B. Morganbesser
Morganbesser is co-Founder and President and CEO of DelMorgan & Co., which provides financial advice and assistance to companies, institutions, governments and individuals around the world. He’s also CEO of DelMorgan’s broker-dealer affiliate, Globalist Capital. He’s the former head of West Coast and Asian Mergers & Acquisitions at Bear Stearns and is a former Morgan Stanley investment banker. Charter’s logic: “Mr. Morganbesser has over 20 years of experience providing financial and strategic advice to a full range of clients, including entrepreneurs, large corporations, governments, family businesses, private equity funds, and special committees of public companies.”
Here’s a big name from across the pond. O’Hare was Virgin Media’s CFO from ’09 until ’13. Prior to that, he was UK CFO of retailer Tesco Plc. He’s also worked for Energis Communications an PepsiCo. “He brings a wealth of relevant business and financial expertise as well as extensive knowledge of financial management and accounting principles,” Charter said, pointing to his more than 20 years experience as a CFO in many consumer-facing and tech-oriented businesses.
David A. Peacock
Peacock joined Anheuser-Busch in 1992, working his way up to president (Oct ’08-Feb ’12), where he was responsible for the U.S. operations of the company. His time at Anheuser included a stint as CMO and vp, business operations, which Charter said provides him with extensive knowledge of marketing, sales and operations.
Michael E. Salvati
Salvati has extensive experience in corporate advisory services and strategic planning. For 14 years, he has been President at Oakridge Consulting, which provides interim management, management consulting and corporate advisory services to companies ranging in size from start-ups to multinational corporations. Before that, he was Executive Vice President and COO of National Financial Partners Corp., a venture focusing on the consolidation of small financial services firms that service high net worth individuals. “In his prior executive positions he was directly responsible for managing acquisition-led growth within the relevant companies which are skills that would bring value to the Company. Mr. Salvati’s service on multiple public and private company boards over the last 12 years would provide valuable insights into many of the issues that the company faces, and useful perspectives in relation to compensation and corporate governance matters,” Charter said.
Irwin D. Simon
Simon founded The Hain Celestial Group, a natural and organics product company, in 1993 and has been its President and Chief Executive Officer since May 1993. Before that, he worked in marketing for Slim-Fast Foods. Charter believes he would provide a “unique perspective on all aspects of advertising and marketing services.”
John E. (Jack) Welsh III
He’s the president of investment firm Avalon Capital Partners, with previous roles at CIP Management and SkyTel. Welsh has served as non-executive Chairman and a Director of General Cable Corporation, a developer, designer, manufacturer, marketer and distributor of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products, since 1997. Charter lauded his strong financial background and leadership skills.