Cable Shakeup: Comcast Brings In Charter CEO Neil Smit To Head Cable Operations

A major shakeup in the cable world as Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) brings in an outsider to run its vast cable operations and Charter (NSDQ: CHTR) loses its CEO. Neil Smit trades up by millions of subscribers from Charter Communications, where he has been CEO since 2005, to be president of *Comcast* Cable Communications, responsible for all business aspects for the country’s largest cable operator and its more than 23 million subs. He’s taking a post held by Comcast COO Steve Burke since 1998, an admission by Comcast that, with the pending addition of NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), Burke’s role is too big for him to him to run the cable operations directly. Smit will report to Burke.

Smit has headed Charter adroitly through some troubled financial times, leaving only after the heavily leveraged company emerged from bankruptcy in better shape debt-wise. He inherited the debt, which started as Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) cofounder Paul Allen built the company through a series of acquisitions a decade ago. Before Charter, Smit was in charge of AOL’s Access Business.

At Charter, the fourth-largest cable operator with 5.5 million subs, COO Mike Lovett will be interim president and CEO when Smit’s resignation takes effect Feb. 28. Charter’s board will start a CEO search. Comcast release Charter release More to come