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Cable’s R&D Hub Adds New Faces In Ongoing Quest for Global Reach

Personnel changes have been afoot in recent weeks at CableLabs, the Colorado-based, operator-backed organization that handles R&D, leads up initiatives such as DOCSIS 3.1 and helped NCTA-The Internet & Television Association put together the April 27 The Near Future conference, showing off transformative technologies.

One of the new faces is well-known in engineering circles. Jeff Chen, late of Bright House Networks, joined CableLabs in February in the newly created role of senior vice president, global technology.

CableLabs said Chen will focus on developing and maintaining relationships with CableLabs members in Asia, Europe and Latin America, by way of promoting Cable- Labs R&D, strategy and innovation efforts and getting a fix on their priorities.

Chen, said to be reporting to CableLabs chief operating officer Chris Lammers, was senior vice president of advanced technology at BHN, which merged into Charter Communications.

Chen joins as CableLabs continues to extend global-facing ambitions. In 2013, Cable Europe Labs merged with Cable- Labs as the latter sought global scale for its projects.

Multichannel News reported earlier that CableLabs cancelled the 2018 annual Winter Conference and, in its place, will host an “Inform[ED]” conference in Lisbon, Portugal. A source familiar with CableLabs’s plans told The Wire the organization wants to build up to holding multiple conferences around the world to drive its global-facing strategy.

Among other changes, Wayne Surdham, CableLabs’s vice president of communications, confirmed that he is retiring. Surdham joined in 2013, reuniting with CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney. They’d worked together at Hewlett Packard.

In another HP connection, Ann Finnie has joined CableLabs as director of communications, responsible for CableLabs, for-profit spinoff Kyrio and Up- Ramp, a division that helps startups accelerate their vision and do deals with cable operators. Finnie most recently was with Logitech, heading up PR for products, and managed worldwide PR for HP’s consumer PC business.

Also new to CableLabs is VP of marketing and communications Rachel Biesel, who joins senior management and is tasked with creating and executing marketing and communication strategy. She got her marketing and PR start in Nashville’s country music scene, and is a cofounder of the Colorado Women’s Cycling Project and LeadOutSales, a tech B2B marketing firm.