Steve Cochran will take over the tiller at WOW when he succeeds current CEO Colleen Abdoulah on April 1.
Abdoulah, who has led WOW since 2002, will continue in her role as chair of the company’s board of directors. Cochran is currently president of WOW. Marketing officer Cathy Kuo will take over Cochran’s operational responsibilities in her new position as chief operating officer.
“I am excited to announce the next step in WOW’s future with this progression in leadership,” Abdoulah said. “Developing our leaders and building bench strength is a priority for us and always has been. So we are fortunate to have tremendous depth and tenure on our leadership team to ensure this transition will be seamless and our unique culture will be preserved. As we approach the second anniversary of the Knology acquisition that doubled the size of our company, this is the ideal time to put our succession plan into effect. Steven and I have partnered together over the last decade, and I am thrilled that our WOW employees and customers will continue to be cared for under his exceptional leadership.”
WOW announced it was buying Knology for $1.5 billion in 2012. Abdoulah led WOW, which is the nation’s ninth-largest cable operator, through a sale process to Avista Capital Partners in 2006 and then the purchase of Knology.
As chair of the board, she will continue to provide strategic leadership, executive coaching and development, and serve on the board compensation committee. She will also continue as chair of the American Cable Association.
Cochran started his career with WOW as CFO in 2002. He was promoted to COO/CFO in 2008 and to president in 2010. Responsible for the company’s mergers and acquisitions strategy, WOW said Cochran has been the architect of several critical acquisitions starting in 2006. In addition to assuming the CEO position, he will join the board of directors.
“It’s an honor to accept CEO responsibilities and I’m humbled to continue the legacy of what we’ve built here under Colleen’s extraordinary vision,” Cochran said. “I’m grateful to her for setting the stage for this transition so thoughtfully, and I’ll continue to rely on Colleen’s guidance as our board chair.
“No one is better qualified to take over operations than Cathy Kuo. As chief marketing officer, she has been integral to every operational initiative we’ve undertaken over the last several years. I have complete trust in her ability to strike the right balance across customer experience, employee experience, and financial objectives as she assumes her new role as COO.”
Since joining WOW in 2001, Kuo has led the company’s strategic plans for pricing and product management, branding, programming and ad sales.