Rutledge: Connecticut Made 'Responsive' Pitch

Incentives like a $6.5-million low-interest loan helped persuade Charter Communications to pick a site in Stamford, Conn., to move its corporate headquarters from St. Louis, Mo., CEO Tom Rutledge said at a press conference in downtown Stamford Tuesday.

“We chose Connecticut because the state was so responsive to us. And it’s a great location,” Rutledge said, speaking on one of two empty floors the company has leased in a 15-story building at 400 Atlantic Street, about half a mile from the Stamford train station.

Rutledge – who, like several top executives hired at Charter in the past year, lives near Stamford – said Charter opted to seek a New York City-area location for business reasons. “The biggest advantage for us is our access to the financial community, to the media community and to the transportational facilities. We're a multistate, national company, and having an office here that is operationally focused allows us to serve our constituents, our employees, which are scattered throughout the United States, easier. It’s easier to get to and from here.”

State officials, including Gov. Dannel Malloy (seen, at right, with Rutledge in the photo above), said Charter qualified for incentives under a program called “Next Five” that encourages companies to move to Connecticut or expand existing jobs here. Charter committed to creating 200 jobs in the Stamford building, and the state said the 2%-interest, 10-year loan to Charter can be forgiven in whole or in part based on job milestones.

Charter currently has about 2,800 employees in St. Louis, which also is home to the company’s biggest cable system. Spokeswoman Anita Lamont said Tuesday the 70 jobs expected to move from St. Louis to Stamford will be more than offset by 300 additional hires Charter plans to make in the city, including hires to accommodate the company’s growing Charter Business unit. Overall Charter is the fourth-biggest U.S. cable company with about 4.3 million basic video customers.

Corporate staff in legal and financial jobs are remaining in St. Louis, the company says. Charter also has engineering and programming staffers in Denver, who are remaining there.

Rutledge said Charter hopes to move into its new space later this year. He said the company also has plans to increase local jobs serving more than 100,000 cable customers in the state, jobs that would include installers, technicians and sales people.

Multichannel News yesterday was first to report Charter's site selection for what had previously been called just a New York City area office for top executives. Charter had not previously said the office would become its new headquarters, though it was clear that Rutledge, COO John Bickham and other key executives would work there. Connecticut officials said Charter agreed to invest $10 million in the move.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.