Cox's Kathy Payne Joins Suddenlink As Program Chief

Suddenlink said Katherine Payne will join the company Feb. 24 as senior vice president and chief programming officer, reporting to executive vice president and chief financial officer Mary Meduski.

Payne, pictured above, is assuming the position previously held by Patricia McCaskill, who plans to retire after a distinguished career spanning nearly 35 years in the cable industry, Suddenlink said.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kathy to our team,” Suddenlink chairman and CEO Jerry Kent said in a release. “She commands great respect throughout the industry; she knows the people and issues; and she is well positioned to help us manage our programming costs for the benefit of our customers and investors. Given her skills, experience, and track record, I’m confident she will be a key contributor to a wide range of strategic decisions we make, as we continue growing this company.”

He added: “We also want to thank Patty McCaskill (pictured, right) for her exceptional service. I’ve worked with Patty for more than 20 years, through a period of tremendous change in the industry. During that time, she never ceased to impress me with her boundless energy, talent, and creativity. All of us at Suddenlink wish her the very best.” 

Prior to her decision to join Suddenlink, Payne served in various capacities with Cox Communications. She joined Cox as an attorney in 1993 and was promoted to assistant general counsel in 1999. In 2001, she joined Cox’s content acquisition team and was promoted to vice president of content acquisition in 2003. She was the lead negotiator on various agreements with media companies for carriage of their video content across existing and emerging platforms, including standard and high-definition linear channels, video on demand, and mobile devices.

Throughout her career at Cox, she negotiated nearly $7 billion in programming agreements. She was also responsible for managing post-contract relationships with major media companies, such as NBCU, Viacom, Fox, AMC, Scripps, and AETN, as well as all professional and regional sports networks. 

During her time in the cable industry, Payne has earned a number of awards and recognitions, including being named a Multichannel News Woman to Watch in 2007 and Wonder Woman in 2009. She is a graduate of the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and has served in various leadership roles with that organization as well as with Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), including as chair of WICT’s national board from 2010 to 2012.

McCaskill, who also was a Wonder Woman in 2009, joined Suddenlink in February 2003, after a decade at Charter Communications, then headed by Jerry Kent. Prior to Charter, she ran a communications consulting firm and from 1987 to 1992 she was vice president, central region, for Travel Channel. Earlier in her career she worked for Southwestern Bell Publications and for Warner AMEX/QUBE in St. Louis.