Tom Rutledge

Years in Cable: 39

Education: BA, Economics, California University in California, PA

With Charter’s landmark acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks inching ever closer to reality, Rutledge is poised to sit atop a media giant that will affect an estimated one in six U.S. cable households. The $70 billion takeover of TWC and $10.4 billion purchase of Bright House, which Rutledge first proposed a year ago, took longer than he expected. But the executive has exercised patience, and his company has been willing to bend on terms to seal the deal, which at press time had the thumbs up from the Justice Department and FCC chair Tom Wheeler. If the deal goes through with the current conditions, Charter will have a seven year ban on charging broadband customers based on usage and on charging interconnection fees. Exactly what the new company will look like remains to be seen, but Rutledge has proven himself an skilled leader, guiding Charter on a 180-degree path out of bankruptcy during the past several years. Look for his tireless focus on customer service to play a big role in the new entity; he’s said the merged Charter could hire up to 20,000 in service-related positions. “Everyone at Charter knows customer service capability is the key differentiator for us. We’ve been investing in people, training and improving our quality and craftsmanship throughout the organization,” Rutledge told us last summer when Cablefax: The Magazine awarded Charter our MSO of the Year honor.

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