Charter Communications Names Chris Winfrey as New CEO, Replacing Tom Rutledge Who is Retiring After 50-Year Career

Charter Communications Sept. 21 announced that Chris Winfrey has been named president and CEO, effective Dec. 1. Winfrey most recently served as COO after more than a decade as the cabler’s CFO. As CEO, Winfrey will report to board of directors. 

Tom Rutledge

Current CEO Tom Rutledge, who announced his plans to retire as CEO after a 50-year career, beginning as a technician in 1972 while in college, will serve as executive chairman through the end of his contract in November 2023. Rutledge will maintain oversight of Charter’s government affairs during that time and provide his guidance to ensure a smooth and successful transition. 

Rutledge helped grow Charter to a pay-TV, broadband and telecom operator with more than 30 million subscribers. He grew the company both organically and through transformative acquisitions, which included Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Optimum West (Bresnan).

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead Charter and this incredible team over the past 10 years,” Rutledge said in a statement. “We have grown the company through innovation and strategic investments and have positioned Charter to provide the best converged connectivity products and services available today.”

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Chris Winfrey

Winfrey joined Charter as CFO in 2010, added oversight of Spectrum Enterprise in 2019, and operational leadership of the residential and SMB sales and marketing organization, and Spectrum Community Solutions in 2021. Later in 2021, he was named COO. 

Prior to joining Charter, Winfrey served as CFO, and as managing director for cable operations, broadcasting and satellite entities at Unitymedia GmbH, Germany’s second-largest cable operator. Earlier in his career, Winfrey served as SVP of corporate finance and development at Cablecom, GmbH. He was previously a director of financial planning and analysis and director of operations services of NTL Incorporated’s continental European operations, and a senior associate in the private equity group at Communications Equity Associates. He has spent nearly 25 years in the cable industry, and in 2015 received The Internet & Television Association’s (NCTA) Vanguard Award for Young Leadership.