Comcast elevates cable systems chief Neil Smit
Comcast Corp. elevated Neil Smit to chief executive of the company's revenue engine: Comcast Cable Communications. The move recognizes the veteran executive's contributions during his short tenure with the Philadelphia cable giant.
Smit, a rising star who joined Comcast from Charter Communications Inc. in March 2010, is responsible for all aspects of the company's cable TV and high-speed Internet delivery systems. He previously had served as president of Comcast Cable. He continues to report to Comcast Corp. chief executive Brian L. Roberts.
Smit's elevation to the newly created position puts him on equal footing with Steve Burke, Comcast's chief executive of NBCUniversal.
Roberts hired Smit to replace Burke as head of cable systems when Comcast was preparing to merge its entertainment properties with NBCUniversal. Burke was put in charge of all of the entertainment channels.
“Neil has done a phenomenal job," Roberts said Wednesday in a prepared statement. "He has driven innovation, improved the customer experience, increased the speed of the introduction of new products, and has expanded our company into new opportunities for profitable growth."
Since Smit took over the cable division, Comcast has notched a 13% increase in new customers as measured during the most recent quarter.
Comcast also has witnessed a dramatic increase in customers signing up for all three services -- television, high-speed Internet and telephone. Now more than a third of all Comcast customers pay for "triple play" service, a particularly high-margin area for cable companies.
Comcast's high-speed Internet subscribers are up 5% year over year. The company's business services division revenue has increased nearly 40%. Those gains have helped offset losses in video subscribers.
Roberts has made the integration of new technologies a priority. To that end, Smit has overseen 16 new product launches in 2011 -- more than the last two years combined.
Smit served as Charter Communications CEO from 2005 to 2010. Before that, he was in charge of Time Warner’s America Online, CompuServe and Netscape Internet service. Before his civilian career, he served for 5 1/2 years on active duty with the Navy SEALs. He retired from the service in the 1980s as a lieutenant commander.
-- Meg James
Photo: Comcast Cable Chief Executive Neil Smit. Credit: Paul Sirochman / Comcast Corp.