Comcast names Smit cable president

Exec brought discipline to Charter as CEO

NEW YORK -- Comcast Corp. has hired Charter Communications CEO Neil Smit to run its cable systems as president of Comcast Cable Communications.

He will report to COO Steve Burke who has also held the role that Smit is now filling and that involves running all the firm's cable systems in a day-to-day operating role.

Burke will continue to oversee Comcast's content and cable operations as COO and also have oversight over the 51% stake in NBC Universal that Comcast expects to acquire later this year.

Citi analyst Jason Bazinet called the appointment "a big plus for Comcast" and "an exciting hire." He said Smit brought analytic rigor to Charter, and "that rigor translated into sharply improved operating and financial results." Predicted Bazinet: "We suspect investors will begin to see tangible signs of improvement in Comcast's cable unit in late 2010 and beyond."

"Neil is widely respected throughout the cable industry as a strong leader with deep knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of topics," said Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

"He will be the perfect complement to our already strong management team," said Burke. "We know Neil well, and his broad management experience in the cable and Internet industries will enable him to hit the ground running."

Smit's resignation from Charter, which he helped navigate through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, is effective Feb. 28.

At Charter, COO Michael Lovett will serve as interim president and CEO.
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