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Rolls Departs Cox To Become Charter CTO

Longtime cable technology executive Jay Rolls is leaving Cox Communications to join Charter Communications next month as senior vice president and chief technology officer.

Rolls, who has more than 25 years of experience in cable, will take over for Marwan Fawaz, who unexpectedly stepped down as Charter's CTO in March 2011.

Rolls most recently served as Cox's senior vice president of technology, responsible for technology and architectures across all of its communications and entertainment product lines. He had joined Cox in 1995 as director of multimedia technology. 

At St. Louis-based Charter, Rolls will lead the operator's engineering and architecture teams, and also will serve as the primary liaison to industry organizations, including research and development consortium CableLabs.

Rolls officially starts as CTO on Aug. 22.

"We're very pleased to have an industry veteran of Jay's caliber lead these efforts," Don Detampel, Charter executive vice president of technology and president of commercial services, said in announcing Rolls' appointment. "He has a natural affinity for collaboration that will help ensure our product, technology and operations teams work closely together to exceed our customers' expectations."

Charter had enlisted former Cox CTO Chris Bowick as an interim replacement after Fawaz's departure.

In a statement, Cox executive vice president and CTO Kevin Hart said, "Jay joined the Cox family 16 years ago, where he helped us and the broader cable industry achieve several technology milestones. While his presence here will be missed, we are very happy for Jay and his new career opportunity." Hart started with Cox in June 2011 after the MSO conducted a 10-month search.

Prior to Cox, Rolls served as vice president of network engineering at Excite@Home, a joint venture of Comcast, Cox, TCI and William Randolph Hearst III. Rolls started his career working on communications cryptography for the U.S. intelligence community, later working at BBN Communications and Alcatel Telekom, spending nearly 10 years in Germany.

Rolls received the National Cable & Telecommunication Association's Vanguard Award for Science and Technology in 2009 and is a member of the University of Virginia Electrical & Computer Engineering's Advisory Board.