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Advance/Newhouse Sets Top Managers

About two weeks after obtaining management control of 2.1 million cable customers as a result of the restructuring of its Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse partnership, Advance/Newhouse has named three executives to its management team.

A/N has appointed Steve Miron as president, Nomi Bergman as executive vice president of strategy and development and Bill Futera as executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The TWE-A/N partnership was restructured on June 24, with A/N receiving subscribers in central Florida; Tampa Bay, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Indianapolis; and Detroit.

Miron, the son of Advance/Newhouse CEO Robert Miron, was formerly vice president and general manager of Time Warner Cable's Central New York cluster. He has nearly 15 years of cable-industry experience and oversaw the launch of digital cable in central New York.

Bergman — Robert Miron's daughter — has about 20 years experience in the cable industry — most recently as a manager in the Charlotte, N.C. division of Time Warner Cable. Futera has more than 20 years of cable experience, and has been with Advance/Newhouse since 1992.

"These additions to our management team are an integral part of our company's new organizational structure," Robert Miron said in a statement. We are confident we are putting the best team in place to maximize our success."

TWE-A/N was formed in 1995, with Advance/Newhouse contributing 1.4 million subscribers in Upstate New York. The partnership, which originally had 4.5 million subscribers, ballooned to 6.7 million by this year, including Time Warner Cable systems in Florida, New York and the Carolinas.

Advance/Newhouse has held the right to renegotiate the partnership every April 1 since 1998, the three-year anniversary of the deal. But until last March, A/N had only made minor adjustments, such as requiring Time Warner Cable to tell Newhouse about its carriage agreements with sister company America Online.

That changed in March, according to published reports, when A/N became concerned with how the partnership was run.

Steve Miron wouldn't comment on any additional hires at A/N as it moves closer to managing the former Time Warner Cable systems.

"The most we can say now is that we're just starting to put together a team up here," Miron said. "Time Warner continues to manage and control the systems until the end of the year."

Though other industry observers speculated that A/N could tap a sizeable pool of former Newhouse cable executives to the company, Miron said "I don't think we're going to limit ourselves to [former] Newchannels people."

Miron said he and his father have been making the rounds of the former Time Warner Cable properties. While he was reluctant to discuss A/N's plans for the systems, he said he was encouraged by his meetings with employees.

"It was really good," Miron said. "We've visited the divisions in the past and we visited them again recently, and we were really pleased by a lot of the management teams and the systems we have in place."

It's A/N's intention to keep the former Time Warner Cable employees on the payroll, said Miron.

"We think they have really strong teams in place in these divisions," Miron said. "We don't plan any changes in the field."

Miron would not talk about potential acquisitions, although his father had earlier said that the company would be willing to look at properties as they come up for sale.

Florida — where A/N will gain control of Time Warner Cable properties in Orlando and Tampa Bay — is also a stronghold for Adelphia Communications Corp. Prior to Adelphia's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing on June 25, the Coudersport, Pa.-based MSO had identified its Florida systems as among the properties it would put up for sale.

"I'm certain we will have an open mind," Miron said.