Charter Names John Bickham Vice Chairman, Promotes Winfrey, Fischer

Charter Communications
(Image credit: Charter Communications)


Charter Communications said it has promoted long-time chief operating officer John Bickham to vice chairman, ahead of his previously announced retirement at the end of 2022, and said it will move chief financial officer Christopher Winfrey to COO, and EVP of finance Jessica Fischer to CFO. In addition, chief product and technology officer Rich DiGeronimo will add oversight of Charter’s Network Operations to his responsibilities. The changes are effective immediately, with each executive reporting to chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge

Other Charter executives — senior EVP David Ellen; EVP government affairs Catherine Bohigian, and EVP, general counsel and corporate secretary Rick Dykhouse — will also continue to report to Rutledge. 

Bickham, a 35-year veteran of the cable industry, joined Charter in 2012 from Cablevision Systems (now Altice USA) where he worked with Rutledge. Rutledge had been COO of Cablevision and was named Charter CEO in December 2011. The two had also been colleagues at Time Warner Cable. In February, Bickham said he planned to retire at the end of next year. 

“I have worked with John for three decades and at every turn, his knowledge, leadership and steady hand have not only contributed greatly to the success of the companies we led, but made a profound impact on the growth of our industry,” Rutledge said in a press release. “I am grateful that John will continue to serve Charter in this new capacity as a strategic advisor to me and the executive team, and his guidance will help ensure a successful transition for Chris into the COO role.”

Winfrey joined Charter as CFO in 2010 from German cable operator Unitymedia GmbH.  As COO he will oversee all of Charter's cable operations across its 41-state footprint, including field and customer operations, and retain management of marketing, sales, and Spectrum Enterprise. 

“Over the past 11 years Chris’ influence on Charter has expanded far beyond that of a typical CFO; he has been actively involved in our business operations and that deep knowledge, combined with his previous operational experience in Europe, will serve us well as Charter’s next chief operating officer,” Rutledge said in the press release. 

Fischer joined Charter in 2017 as a group vice president, and was promoted to EVP of finance in February.  As CFO, she adds oversight of Charter’s accounting, reporting and corporate budgeting and planning functions to her current responsibilities leading procurement, investor relations, internal audit, treasury, acquisitions and capital market activities and the tax and risk management functions. 

“Jessica’s leadership and financial expertise has benefited Charter for many years, both in her roles at Charter and while at EY where she was a key advisor during our 2016 transactions,” Rutledge said in the release. “In this role, Jessica will have an even greater impact on Charter’s success as we continue to seize the many opportunities before us.” 

DiGeronimo adds oversight for network and software operations to his current responsibilities as chief product and technology officer. He joined Charter in 2008 as vice president of product management and most recently added responsibility for Spectrum Reach, Charter’s advertising sales business, to his current position. Prior to Charter, DiGeronimo served as VP and general manager of the Cable Markets Group at Level 3 Communications. 

“With the expanded responsibility of Network Operations, Rich will both shape the customer experience and lead our network's critical evolution into the 10G future, delivering to our customers a superior broadband connectivity experience,” Rutledge said in the press release.  

Charter Communications' Jessica Fischer

Jessica Fischer  (Image credit: Charter Communications)

Chris Winfrey

Chris Winfrey (Image credit: Charter)

Charter Communications

Rich DiGeronimo (Image credit: Charter Communications)

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.