Rutledge gets a new home

Former Time Warner cable prez will now top Cablevision's Big Apple division

Recently departed Time Warner Cable President Tom Rutledge popped right back up at Cablevision Systems, taking the helm of the company's cable operations.

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO named Rutledge president, New York metropolitan area, which puts him in charge of the company's entire cable operation. Rutledge will be responsible for Cablevision's core cable offerings, the new Interactive Optimum digital rollout, plus high-speed Internet and planned cable telephone services.

The post has been vacant for a year, since Joe Azznara moved to Cablevision's business telephone unit (and later retired).

After 24 years at various iterations of Time Warner Cable, Rutledge left in October when it became clear that he wouldn't be moving up in the unit. AOL Time Warner brought in former Comcast Corp. President Tom Baxter.

Cablevision seems to be striving to solidify a management team. In the year that the cable post was vacant, the team was reporting to James Dolan, president of Cablevision Systems.

Earlier last month, Cablevision named Jeffrey Yapp, a former president of video and game retailer Hollywood Entertainment Corp., as group president of its retail division, including deficit-ridden The Wiz electronics chain and Clearview Cinemas.

Rutledge said he was excited by the opportunities provided by Cablevision's concentration on the metro-New York market, a cluster that covers all of Long Island, much of southern Connecticut and big chunks of New Jersey. "It's a single DMA, a single headend," Rutledge said. Cablevision's plant is "more sophisticated than other cable operators'."

Rutledge is deeply rooted in Time Inc.'s cable operation, starting at American Television & Communications in 1977, fresh out of college. After a number of system management jobs, he was named president of Time Warner Cable's Portland, Me., and then its Austin, Texas, systems. He was named senior vice president of corporate development in 1994 and executive vice president in 1996.