Former Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt, who helped usher in the era of video on demand, the digital video recorder, and high-speed Internet access, died at his home in New York Wednesday morning after a battle with cancer. Britt was 65.
Britt, who served as Time Warner Cable's CEO since 2001 until the fall of 2013 when he retired, was a 40-plus year veteran of the cable industry. He was considered the driving force behind Time Warner Cable's aggressive deployment in advanced video services, such as video on demand, high-definition TV programing, and digital video recorders. He also helped guide the company in its transition as a high-speed broadband provider and telephone service provider.
In recent years, Britt was critical of the rising cost of programming, especially when it came to sports. He pushed the industry to hold the line on rising costs of programming to ensure everyone could afford the service. Britt's strong stance contributed to a stand-off with CBS last summer, which resulted in the blackout of CBS programming for several weeks on Time Warner Cable's TV service. (Disclosure: CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.)
Britt announced his plans for retirement last summer and named his CEO successor, Rob Marcus. In October, Britt revealed he had been treated for melanoma in 2008 and that his cancer had returned. He stepped down from his post as CEO in January, as was previously planned.
Marcus issued a statement this morning saying that Britt had left the company with a legacy of innovation, integrity, and inclusion.
"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 said. "He will long be remembered for his thoughtful and steady leadership through rapidly changing times in the communications field."
Under Britt's leadership as CEO, Time Warner Cable went from a division of Time Warner with revenue of $6 billion to its a separate publicly traded company with $21 billion in revenue and a $40 billion market cap.
In February, Time Warner Cable and Comcast announced a $45 billion merger that would combine the largest cable company in the US, Comcast, with the second largest cable operator, Time Warner Cable. The deal is currently being reviewed by US regulators.