Cable executives watching their colleagues exit the
industry for jobs at Internet start-up companies are left wondering whether they're
being left behind.
"What everybody is concerned about is whether the
grass really is greener over there," Cable & Telecommunications Association for
Marketing president Char Beales said.
Because cable's pipe will be the driving force in the
broadband, there's still room for growth in the cable industry, Beales contended.
"But you don't get the stock" options from the large companies that control
cable today like you did in the old days, she added.
Among the recent moves from cable to dot-coms,
digital-subscriber-line and other Internet companies is that of David Krone, who will
leave the National Cable Television Association in mid-February to join Leo J. Hindery Jr.
at Global Crossing Ltd.'s GlobalCenter Inc. Internet division.
Krone was executive vice president of the NCTA, and he had
only been there for a few months.
GlobalCenter CEO Hindery said last week that he has
recruited several other former AT&T Broadband & Internet Services executives. At
GlobalCenter, Grace de Latour is executive vice president of human resources, Barbara Wood
is chief administrative officer, Laurie Priddy is executive vice president of systems and
applications, Derek Chang is executive vice president of development and chief financial
officer and Eric Kirsten is vice president of new products.
Jerry Machovina, the former ad-sales chief at
Tele-Communications Inc. and AT&T Broadband, left earlier this month to become CEO at
Adauction.com, an online ad-sales outfit of which Hindery is chairman.
Asked whether he plans to woo other cable executives away
from AT&T Broadband, Hindery replied, "I think they'd kill me. No, I think
In the case of former AT&T Broadband executives moving
to Global Crossing, "They're following Leo," rather than simply the more
general lure of Internet companies, Beales said.
Internet companies also provide safe havens for cable
executives who are squeezed out of their jobs due to MSO consolidation.
Former InterMedia Partners marketing director Donna Young
is opening an Atlanta office for Excite@Home Corp. And former Suburban Cable president
Joseph Cece became CEO of broadband start-up company Digital Access Inc., rather than
taking a job with less responsibility once Suburban was consolidated into Comcast Corp.
"I have the opportunity to start a business from
scratch, and I have a significant equity position in the company," Cece said.
Beales said many longtime cable insiders who remember the
excitement of the start-up days long for that same kind of challenge again.
While they're also drawn to the money, the quick buck
is not always a given with start-ups. "It's the pot of gold at the end of the
rainbow," Beales said, "but you've got to make sure the rainbow lasts"
long enough for a payoff.
Other recent MSO executives who left the industry include
former Comcast Online Communications Inc. vice president Richard Rasmus, who joined DSL
provider Flashcom Inc. as president earlier this month.
Former Cox Communications Inc. vice president of marketing
Virginia Gray joined Westport, Conn.-based Digital Idea, an Internet-consulting company,
earlier this month as managing director of branding and marketing.
And although she is not headed to a dot-com, Lela Cocoros,
AT&T Broadband's executive vice president of corporate communications, confirmed
last week that she is leaving the company at the end of March.
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