News Corp. veteran Tom Mockridge has been named the next CEO of Virgin Media.
Mockridge has served in various senior management roles at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for over two decades, including chief executive of European Television operations, chief executive of Sky Italia, and most recently CEO of News International. Mockridge will succeed Neil Berkett, who announced his intention to retire as CEO of the U.K. cable operator following Liberty Global's acquisition plans.
Mike Fries, president and CEO of Liberty Global, said in a statement Wednesday, "Tom will bring to Virgin Media a breadth of experience in the pay-TV industry, both in the U.K. and throughout Europe. We are fortunate to bring an executive of Tom's talent and experience in to lead Virgin Media in its next phase of growth."The appointment is subject to the closure of the Virgin Media acquisition by Liberty Global, which is scheduled to finish by June following a vote by shareholders of both firms. The deal is ($23.2 billion) in stock and cash.
Virgin Media is competing with Sky -- namely BSkyB, in which News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake -- and through the acquisition, may be able to harness new technology in order to take on its competitor, which has roughly double the number of subscribers Virgin Media accounts for. Virgin Media promises "enhanced bundled and premium services" in the future.
The acquisition of the U.K. cable operator will add the firm to other brands owned by Liberty Global including UPC, Unitymedia, KabelBW, Telenet and VTR.