Suddenlink Communications has hired former Cox employee Katherine Payne as its new senior vice president and chief programming officer.

Payne, who will start Feb. 24, is taking over for Patricia McCaskill, who will retire after a 35-year career in the cable industry. Payne will report to executive vice president and chief financial officer Mary Meduski.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kathy to our team,” said Suddenlink Chairman and CEO Jerry Kent. “She commands great respect throughout the industry; she knows the people and issues; and she is well positioned to help us manage our programming costs for the benefit of our customers and investors. Given her skills, experience, and track record, I’m confident she will be a key contributor to a wide range of strategic decisions we make, as we continue growing this company.

“We also want to thank Patty McCaskill for her exceptional service. I’ve worked with Patty for more than 20 years, through a period of tremendous change in the industry. During that time, she never ceased to impress me with her boundless energy, talent, and creativity. All of us at Suddenlink wish her the very best.” 

Prior to joining Suddenlink, Payne served in various roles with Cox Communications. She joined Cox as an attorney in 1993 and was promoted to assistant general counsel in 1999. In 2001, she joined Cox’s content acquisition team and was promoted to vice president of content acquisition in 2003.

Payne was the lead negotiator on various agreements with media companies for carriage of their video content across existing and emerging platforms, including standard and high- definition linear channels, video-on-demand, and mobile devices. Throughout her career at Cox, Payne negotiated nearly $7 billion in programming agreements. She was also responsible for managing post-contract relationships with major media companies, such as NBCU, Viacom, Fox, AMC, Scripps, and AETN, as well as all professional and regional sports networks. 

Payne is a graduate of the Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and has served in various leadership roles with that organization as well as with Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), including as chair of WICT’s national board from 2010 to 2012.