NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As previously speculated, former Cablevision ( CVC) Chief Operating Office Thomas Rutledge has joined Charter Communications ( CHTR) as its new CEO and President, effective February 13, 2012. Rutledge will join the company immediately and will also become a member of the board once he is appointed CEO.

Rutledge, 58, abruptly left Cablevision last week, which led to speculation that Cablevision could be up for sale.

Rutledge is highly thought of on Wall Street, with Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffet calling him "the hands-down best executive in the cable business."

In a research note last week, Deutsche Bank analyst Douglas Mitchelson noted that under Rutledge's tenure at Cablevision, he helped drive the strongest penetration and average revenue per user in the industry. Cablevision was generating $152 per month in revenue from basic video services, 14% higher than the $133 average, according to Mitchelson's report.

Raymond James analyst Frank G. Louthan IV was also positive on the appointment. In his research note, Louthan wrote the hiring is a "home run." Louthan rates shares outperform.

In the release, Rutledge said, "I am honored to have been chosen for this role and look forward to working with the Charter team to provide superior products and services to our customers, create an exciting work environment for our employees and build continued value for our shareholders."

Charter is the fourth-largest U.S. cable company, and operates in 25 states, including Missouri, where the company is based.

Shares of Charter were sharply higher Tuesday, up 5% to $55.38 on nearly three times the average daily volume.

Interested in more on Charter Communications? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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