NCTA President Robert Sachs submitted his resignation over the weekend.
He expects to stay on through the end of the year, but then return to his home in Boston.
While he has several supporters among key industry leaders, the association's executive committee has recently concluded that he no longer had enough broad-based industry support to be effective.
"He decided it was time to go," said one industry executive. The NCTA is expected to announce Sachs' exit later this afternoon.
In a letter to NCTA and Time Warner Cable Chairman Glenn Britt dated Friday, Sachs said that "I do not intend to seek to extend my contract beyond its current term. There are many personal considerations involved in my decision, chief among them being away from home in Boston, Monday through Friday, nearly every week."
He said "I cannot imagine a more exciting period to represent our industry in Washington."
Just last week NCTA staffers insisted publicly that no decision would be made until after Congress' fall recess.
Sachs says that he had planned to discuss it with the association's executive committee-the top executives of
the largest cable companies-at a strategic planning retreat planned for July. "I had wanted to personally discuss my intentions with the Executive Committee at that time in order to give the Board ample opportunity to factor them into its long-term planning."
But Sachs says he doesn't want "trade press speculation about what I `might or might not' do create any distractions for NCTA, I've decided to share my thinking with you sooner."
The full text of Sachs' letter follows:
For almost five years I've had the great privilege of leading NCTA. As the cable industry has experienced unprecedented change and launched new consumer services ranging from high speed Internet to VOD, HDTV and Voice over IP, I cannot imagine a more exciting period to represent our industry in Washington.
In July 1999 I committed to serve as NCTA President & CEO for three years. The years have gone by very quickly and by the end of 2004, I'll have served in this capacity for nearly five and a half.
The reason for my letter is to let you know that I do not intend to seek to extend my contract beyond its current term. There are many personal considerations involved in my decision, chief among them being away from home in Boston, Monday through Friday, nearly every week.
With the NCTA Executive Committee's strategic planning retreat in July, I had wanted to personally discuss my intentions with the Executive Committee at that time in order to give the Board ample opportunity to factor them into its long-term planning. However, so as not to let trade press speculation about what I "might or might not" do create any distractions for NCTA, I've decided to share my thinking with you sooner.
Having started at Continental Cablevision 25 years ago, and worked in cable most of my professional career, I care a great deal about our business, the people who work in it, and the valuable programming and services we provide to millions of consumers. Consequently, I want to do everything in my power to ensure both a smooth transition of leadership at NCTA and the industry's continued success. As you and I have discussed, I'm willing and prepared to serve beyond the end of 2004, as necessary, to facilitate the Board's search for a suitable successor.
We have a busy policy agenda through the end of this year and, in addition, important planning to do for the next Congress. Let me assure you that I intend to, remain fully engaged in these activities for the balance of this year and until a successor is in place. There's no reason for NCTA to lose a single beat during this period. Fortunately, NCTA's continued success is not dependent upon any single person. NCTA's real strength is that it's a team- made up of talented and knowledgeable individuals who are strongly committed to our industry.
Working with this outstanding team, everyone on the Board and numerous other leaders in our business truly has been a great privilege for me. The results we've achieved including establishing a deregulatory environment for broadband services; reaching the landmark "plug-and-play" DTV agreement with the consumer electronics industry; and putting in place voluntary industry-wide efforts to enable families to control TV viewing in their homes, also give me great pride. Although I'll look forward to having more time in the future for other things in my life, for the immediate future I plan to remain fully focused on cable industry interests.
Many thanks again for all your support.
President & CEO
For more on the "trade speculation" that prompted the move, see: