Charter Extends Rutledge Pact One-Year

Charter Communications said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday that it has extended the employment contract of CEO Tom Rutledge for one year to Feb. 13, 2017. Rutledge’s original deal was set to expire on Feb. 13, 2016.

Rutledge joined Charter in 2012 after nearly a decade as chief operating officer of Cablevision Systems. In 2015, the company reported its first full year of video subscriber growth in more than a decade.

According to the filing, as part of its agreement with the Advance/Newhouse Partnership to purchase Bright House Networks, the company intends to offer Rutledge the positions of chairman and CEO with a new five-year employment agreement after that deal is closed.

In a separate development, a California Administrative Law Judge moved up the timeline for that state’s Public Utilities Commission to decide whether to approve Charter’s pending $78.7 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable.

The California PUC had earlier issued a timetable that suggested it would decide whether to approve the deal in June. On Feb. 11, ALJ Karl J. Bemesderfer  shortened the timetable for the proceeding by a month. A proposed decision now is scheduled for April 12, with the final decision due May 12.

The California PUC was believed to be the main roadblock in getting the deal approved by the end of the first quarter. While that still won’t happen with the amended timetable, it does suggest that the deal could be closed sooner than was previously expected.

The New York Public Service Commission approved the deal in January. The Federal Communications Commission, which still must sign-off on the deal, restarted the informal 180-day shot clock on the approval process on Jan. 25.