Charter Communications, Inc. recently named Chris Winfrey President and Chief Executive Officer of Charter Communications, effective December 1, 2022. Tom Rutledge, who announced his plans to retire as CEO after a storied 50-year career beginning as a technician in 1972 while in college, will serve as Executive Chairman of the Company and its Board of Directors through the end of his contract in November of 2023.
"It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead Charter and this incredible team over the past 10 years," Rutledge said. "We have grown the company through innovation and strategic investments and have positioned Charter to provide the best converged connectivity products and services available today. During my 50 years in this industry, I have witnessed first-hand its ability to continually evolve and change the world, and our opportunity today is greater than ever with ubiquitous connectivity being central to everything we do."
Winfrey most recently served as Charter's Chief Operating Officer after more than a decade as Charter's Chief Financial Officer. As CEO, Winfrey will report to Charter's Board of Directors. Rutledge will maintain oversight of Charter's Government Affairs during that time and provide his guidance and expertise to ensure a smooth and successful transition. "When Tom was chosen to lead Charter in 2012, his reputation as a skilled operator was second to none, but we never anticipated the new heights to which he would take this company," Lead Independent Director of Charter's Board of Directors Eric Zinterhofer said. "He redefined and exceeded every measure of success, establishing Charter as a best-in-class U.S. connectivity provider. He grew the company both organically and through transformative acquisitions, which included Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Optimum West (Bresnan). In addition, Tom has skillfully developed the next generation of leaders at Charter, including Chris. We are pleased Tom will continue to serve Charter and its shareholders as Executive Chairman of the Company and its Board in 2023."
Winfrey has played a significant role in Charter's growth and transformation over the last decade, first as Chief Financial Officer and more recently as Chief Operating Officer. Winfrey joined Charter as Chief Financial Officer in 2010, added oversight of Spectrum Enterprise in 2019, and operational leadership of the residential and SMB Sales and Marketing organization, and Spectrum Community Solutions in 2021. Later in 2021, he was named Chief Operating Officer. Winfrey is leading the company's rural construction initiative including its $5 billion investment associated with the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) making gigabit broadband connectivity available to more than a million currently unserved locations. He also will lead the company's path to a fully converged broadband offering with symmetrical and multi-gigabit speeds across its entire network. As CFO, he spearheaded Charter's transformative M&A activity, played an integral role in the Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks integrations, and managed Charter's financial activities through a period of significant growth.
"Chris' leadership and expertise in both operations and finance have been pivotal to Charter's growth and success," Rutledge said. "He has repeatedly demonstrated innate strategic insight and keen market and industry awareness to drive an organization to perform at the highest level. Having worked closely with Chris for more than 10 years, he is the right choice to be our next CEO and will serve Charter's customers, employees and shareholders with integrity and skill, leading the company to new and extraordinary heights."
Prior to joining Charter, Winfrey served as Chief Financial Officer, and as Managing Director for cable operations, broadcasting and satellite entities at Unitymedia GmbH, Germany's second-largest cable operator. Earlier in his career, Winfrey served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance and Development at Cablecom, GmbH. He was previously a Director of Financial Planning and Analysis and Director of Operations Services of NTL Incorporated's continental European operations, and a senior associate in the private equity group at Communications Equity Associates. He has spent nearly 25 years in the cable industry, and in 2015 received The Internet & Television Association's (NCTA) Vanguard Award for Young Leadership. "I am grateful to Tom and the Board for entrusting me with this appointment and the incredible opportunity to lead this top-flight management team and company," said Winfrey. "I am deeply committed to Charter's success and will continue our track record of delivering the best connectivity products and service to our customers, investing in the careers of our employees, and building long-term value for shareholders."
It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead Charter and this incredible team over the past 10 years. We have grown the company through innovation and strategic investments and have positioned Charter to provide the best converged connectivity products and services available today. During my 50 years in this industry, I have witnessed first-hand its ability to continually evolve and change the world, and our opportunity today is greater than ever with ubiquitous connectivity being central to everything we do.” Tom Rutledge Executive Chairman, Charter Communications, Inc.