John Malone’s Liberty Global announced that it has picked former News Corp. executive Tom Mockridge as Virgin Media’s new CEO.
Mockridge will take over for current Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett once the $23 billion deal closes. Last month the European Commission signed off on the acquisition, but it’s still subject to approval by stockholders for both companies. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the definitive joint proxy statement and prospectus, and stockholders of both companies are scheduled to vote on the transaction in early June, with the closing slated soon after.
Mockridge has served in several senior management roles over the course of more than two decades with News Corp., including chief executive of European television operations, chief executive of Sky Italia, and most recently chief executive of News International.
Once he takes over at Virgin Media, Mockridge will face off against his former employer, Rupert Murdoch and Murdoch’s BSkyB satellite service.
Mockridge will report to Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries as well as to a newly formed operating committee comprised of Fries, Diederik Karsten, executive vice president, European broadband operations, and Balan Nair, executive vice president and chief technology officer. Nair was also recently appointed to Charter Communications’ board of directors after Liberty Media made a $2.6 billion investment in Charter
“Tom will bring to Virgin Media a breadth of experience in the pay-TV industry, both in the UK and throughout Europe,” Fries said. “I have known and worked with Tom for nearly 15 years and have always admired his leadership and operating success in a number of highly competitive media markets. We are fortunate to bring an executive of Tom’s talent and experience in to lead Virgin Media in its next phase of growth.
“I’d also like to wish Neil Berkett all the best in his future endeavors. He has done an outstanding job at Virgin Media and will be missed by all.”
Mockridge also served as non-executive director of BSkyB from February 2009 and served as its deputy chairman between April 2012 and January 2013.
“Thanks to the incredible energy of its employees and the loyalty of its customers, Virgin Media has become the UK’s leading broadband communications company and has developed an immensely powerful media brand,” Mockridge said. “I keenly anticipate joining the team as it continues to deliver the cutting-edge TV and broadband products and services that excite and inspire its customers across the UK. I’m also excited to become part of the Liberty Global family and look forward to working closely with Mike and his team as they continue to build the world’s largest cable platform.”