Charter's Paul Allen praises his team

Happy with president and CEO Neil Smit's performance

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen continues to be happy with the performance of Charter Communications and its president and CEO Neil Smit, who has focused on boosting the cable operator's financial growth and customer service.

Under chairman and controlling shareholder Allen, Charter often has switched CEOs. Industry veterans Carl Vogel and Jerry Kent are among the Charter CEO alumni.

But at Charter's annual meeting Tuesday, the digital pioneer heaped praise on his team.

"I am very pleased with Charter's performance in 2007, from both a financial and operational perspective," Allen said. "Charter is clearly on a path of growth."

Smit, who took his job in August 2005, said, "We remain optimistic about the future for Charter and the cable industry overall."

The comment was a reference to heated competition between cable, satellite TV and telecom providers that have been rolling out video services. This has analysts predicting continuing basic-cable subscriber losses.Smit called 2007 "a successful year" for Charter, highlighting double-digit revenue and adjusted operating-cash-flow growth in each quarter on a pro-forma basis.

"All of us at Charter are focused on keeping the company's results moving in a positive direction," he said.