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House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Proposed Merger Of Comcast And Time Warner
Robert Marcus, CEO of Time Warner Cable, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in May 2014. Photograph by Drew Angerer—Getty Images

Outgoing Time Warner Cable CEO Admits Asking Impossible of Employees

May 18, 2016

Outgoing Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus didn't exactly endear himself to customers and employees during his short tenure.

Now with the sale of his company completed, $92 million of severance on the way and his calendar cleared for future vacations, Marcus has acknowledged the truth about some of his prior pronouncements to staff that struggled with one failed mega-merger to Comcast (cmcsa) and then hung around for a second sale to Charter Communications (chtr) to slowly but successfully conclude.

"Over the last several years, I repeatedly called upon you to stay focused in spite of all the merger-related distractions, uncertainty and emotional upheaval," Marcus wrote in a final missive to his employees. "I recognized then and now that it was an unreasonable, almost impossible request."

He may have forgotten to mention the "unreasonable" and "impossible" bits while the chaos was swirling, but Marcus now praises his staff for doing their best. "But somehow, unreasonable or not, seemingly impossible or not, you consistently rose to the challenge, exceeding my wildest expectations of what a motivated, passionate, unified team could accomplish under the most difficult of circumstances," Marcus wrote.

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Though he's now out — Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge gets to run the newly-created, second-largest U.S. cable company — Marcus also offered his best wishes to those who kept their jobs as he exits. "Rest assured that I will be watching with great enthusiasm and high expectations, confident that you will continue to make me proud," he wrote.

The letter was reported previously by the DSLReports web site.

A Time Warner Cable spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter, but defended Marcus's severance package. Marcus took over as CEO at the beginning of 2014 and struck his deal with Comcast within months only to see the government block the combination last April. A month later, Marcus agreed to sell to Charter.

"Since TWC’s spinoff in 2009, Mr. Marcus has helped create more than $50 billion in shareholder value and TWC’s stock price has increased nearly 800 percent, significantly outperforming the S&P," the spokeswoman said in a statement. "His severance package largely consists of equity awards earned over the last several years, reflecting the increase in stock price benefitting all shareholders."

For more on the Charter merger, watch:

Marcus's severance package has been valued as high as $97 million, but Time Warner Cable's amended 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in April lists $92 million worth of goodies, including $63 million of stock, owed to Marcus in the event of a "change of control" of the company.

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