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Hobbs Named Time Warner Cable COO

Time Warner Cable looked within for its new chief operating officer, promoting former chief financial officer Landel Hobbs to the position vacated earlier this year by the retirements of John Billock and Tom Baxter.

Hobbs had been executive vice president and CFO of the cable division since 2001.

He is a longtime Time Warner Inc. executive, joining Turner Broadcasting System Inc. in 1993 -- the programmer was acquired by Time Warner Inc. in 1995 -- where he served as senior VP, controller and chief accounting officer.

He moved to Time Warner Inc. (then AOL Time Warner Inc.) in 2000 as VP of financial analysis and operations support.

“Landel has demonstrated strong leadership qualities, and he has shown the kind of judgment required to take on this very important assignment,” Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt said in a prepared statement. “Landel understands the many interworking parts of this business, and he has a keen knowledge of the operational imperatives our division presidents and regional management deal with on a daily basis.”

In an interview, Hobbs said hat he has three priorities in his new position: product innovation, smart marketing and customer care.

He added that the groundwork has already been laid in all three initiatives -- Time Warner Cable has always been known as a product innovator, it hired a new chief marketing officer (Sam Howe) and it is testing a data-warehousing initiative to make customer information readily available to marketers.

On the customer-care front, Hobbs said that while Time Warner Cable has been very good in work-force management and monitoring the plant, it needs to improve its dissemination of information to customer-care representatives and technicians.

“Where I’m going to focus is culture and approach,” Hobbs said. “We’ve got to be a customer-oriented company.”

He added that integrating the 3.5 million subscribers Time Warner Cable will get as part of Time Warner Inc.’s and Comcast Corp.’s Adelphia Communications Corp. acquisition will also be a top priority.

Executive VP William Goetz -- who had been in charge of the Texas, Los Angeles and Memphis, Tenn., regions -- is heading up the Adelphia integration.

Earlier this year, Time Warner rejiggered some of its regional executive VPs, putting them closer to the field.

“We’ve done a tremendous amount of planning,” Hobbs said. “We’re approaching it from a regional perspective and a functional perspective, where we’ve got SWAT teams that are focused on those areas to make sure we’re up and running as fast as we can day one when it closes.”

The Adelphia acquisition is expected to close by the first quarter of next year.

Filling Hobbs’ CFO position will be former senior VP of investor relations John Martin. Martin is a 12-year veteran of Time Warner Inc., staring in 1993 but taking two years off between 2000-02, when he was an equity analyst at ABN AMRO. He rejoined Time Warner Inc. in 2002 as director of investor relations at the cable unit.

In a separate announcement, Time Warner Cable said it named senior VP of mergers and acquisitions Robert Marcus senior executive VP.

In the newly created position, Marcus will oversee the cable unit’s mergers and acquisitions, its programming-affiliation relationships and its legal and human-resources departments. Marcus will also take a lead role in overall business-strategy development.