Liberty Global Taps Former News Corp. Exec as Virgin Media CEO
John Malone's Liberty Global said Wednesday that it has picked former News Corp. top executive Tom Mockridge as designated CEO of U.K. cable operator Virgin Media, which it is in the process of acquiring.
He will succeed Neil Berkett, who previously announced his plan to retire from Virgin Media upon the closing of the deal. Stockholders of both companies are scheduled to vote on the deal in early June, with the closing expected soon thereafter.
Mockridge, who will report to Mike Fries, president and CEO of Liberty Global, served in various senior management roles at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for more than two decades, including as CEO of European television operations, CEO of Sky Italia and, most recently, as CEO of News International.
Mockridge left when he didn't get the role of CEO of the publishing company after News Corp.'s planned separation into two companies.
Virgin Media is competing with BSkyB, in which News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake.
Said Fries: “Tom will bring to Virgin Media a breadth of experience in the pay-TV industry, both in the U.K. and throughout Europe. I have known and worked with Tom for nearly 15 years and have always admired his leadership and operating success in a number of highly competitive media markets.”
Said Mockridge: “Thanks to the incredible energy of its employees and the loyalty of its customers, Virgin Media has become the U.K.’s leading broadband communications company and has developed an immensely powerful media brand. I keenly anticipate joining the team as it continues to deliver the cutting-edge TV and broadband products and services that excite and inspire its customers across the U.K. I’m also excited to become part of the Liberty Global family and look forward to working closely with Mike and his team as they continue to build the world’s largest cable platform.”