Tom Mockridge to leave UK cableco after six years at the helm

Virgin Media has announced that COO Lutz Schüler will become its new chief executive, as Tom Mockridge prepares to step down after six years at the helm.

Schüler took up his position as COO of Virgin Media in September, moving from parent company Liberty Global’s German operation, Unitymedia. There he served as CEO until its sale to Vodafone was agreed.

"During his eight years in Germany, Lutz led a talented team and created significant value. Since joining Virgin Media last year, he has made an immediate impact, uniting the team around a clear strategy for continued, best-in-class growth in the UK and Ireland," said Liberty Global chief Mike Fries, in a statement on Tuesday.

Schüler was brought in to fill the vacancy left by Dana Strong, who left Virgin Media in January 2018 to join US cableco Comcast. Her responsibilities were fulfilled on an interim basis by mobile chief Jeff Dodds and head of customer operations Neil Bartholomew.

"After seven months working in our operations, I am more excited than ever about our continued growth potential with the customers and communities we serve in the UK and Ireland," Schüler said.

Mockridge will leave Virgin Media on 11 June. He took over from Neil Berkett as CEO when Liberty Global acquired the company in 2013. Before that, he served as CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, now called News UK.

Mockridge said he felt privileged to have led Virgin Media for the last six years.

"I’m very pleased to now hand the reins to an executive of Lutz’s calibre. He steps into the role of Virgin Media CEO with a strong platform for continued growth in the UK and Ireland," he said.

"I want to thank Tom for his tireless commitment to transforming Virgin Media since we acquired the business in 2013," Fries added. "Under Tom’s leadership, operating cash flow increased 35% and Virgin Media is now recognised as the leader in ultrafast broadband, the best entertainment and superior quality of service."