Glenn Britt Dead at 65

Former Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt died of cancer Wednesday, June 11 at his home in New York. He was 65.

"Glenn left us with a legacy of innovation, integrity and inclusion," said Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus. "We were guided for many years by his strong belief that a company must be willing to reinvent itself to be successful; his commitment to saying what you mean and doing what you say; and his conviction that a richly diverse workforce – diverse in ethnicity, culture, beliefs, perspectives, experiences and lifestyles – is necessary to best serve our diverse customers and communities.  He will long be remembered for his thoughtful and steady leadership through rapidly changing times in the communications field."

Survivors include his wife, Barbara.

Britt had been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer back in October and had been undergoing treatment. He had been diagnosed with melanoma about five years ago.

Britt had been a 30-year veteran of TWC and steered it through some of its greatest periods of growth, including its 2009 separation from Time Warner Inc. A soft-spoken executive, Britt nonetheless took center stage on some of the industry’s most high-profile issues, including retransmission consent,  usage–based pricing and the high cost of programming.

Born and raised in Hackensack, NJ., Britt joined Time Inc. in the controller's department in 1972. He was named VP and treasure of Manhattan Cable TV in 1974, finance director of Time-Life Books Iran Project in 1977, and VP, network and studio operations, for HBO and director of business development for Time Inc's video group in 1980 before moving to TWC predecessor American Television and Communications Corp. in 1981 as SVP, finance.

He rose through the ranks to become president of Time Warner Cable in 1999 and CEO in 2001.

Reaction poured in as news of Britt's death reached the industry.

Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge, who had worked with Britt for many years at Time Warner Cable, remembered him as a a true industry leader.

"I have  known and worked with Glenn for many years," Rutledge said in a statement. "He was a true thought leader and statesman for this industry and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to Glenn's wife Barbara and his family today."

At Comcast, which is in the process of merging with Time Warner Cable in a deal valued at nearly $70 billion, chairman and CEO Brian Roberts remebered a savvy and compassionate executive.

“Glenn Britt was an incredible leader, visionary, and for decades he has been a wonderful friend and mentor," Robert said in a statement. "He was a key part of our industry’s growth and success and was a true leader in every respect.  His focus on helping others was heartwarming and his competitive spirit was inspiring.  He will be deeply missed."

“NCTA is devastated by the news of Glenn Britt’s passing and offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Barbara, his family, friends and long-time colleagues at Time Warner Cable and throughout the cable industry,” said National Cable & Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell. “Glenn was one of the cable industry’s best and brightest leaders who for decades led Time Warner Cable through a period of significant transformation and exciting innovation."

Noted American Cable Association president Matt Polka: “The ACA family was saddened to hear of the loss of former Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt. Glenn left his mark on the cable industry in ways that few others have over an executive career that spanned several decades and witnessed dramatic change. Our deepest condolences go to Glenn’s family members and his colleagues at Time Warner Cable. Glenn and his loved ones will remain in our constant thoughts and prayers.”

“Glenn’s leadership spanned decades for our industry and we all benefit today from his work,” said Cox Communications CEO Patrick Esser in a statement. “He was instrumental in so many areas to help ensure that we’d continue to deliver innovative products to customers. I appreciated his counsel over the years and am thinking of his wife, Barbara, and colleagues at Time Warner Cable during this sad time.”

Time Warner Cable has set up a tribute page for Britt. The company said that funeral services will be private and a memorial service for friends and family will be announced at a later date.

Mike Farrell contributed to this report.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.