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Adelphia Taps AT&T Broadband Execs for Top Posts

It also appears the company will be leaving Coudersport, Pa.

Adelphia Communications


has a new executive team at the top -- and, sources indicate, a new hometown.

After two months of contract negotiations, the cable television company operating under bankruptcy protection has hired former AT&T Broadband CEO Bill Schleyer to serve as chairman and CEO, and former AT&T Broadband chief operating officer Ron Cooper as Adelphia's president and COO.

The appointments, subject to approval from a bankruptcy judge, mean not only that Adelphia will have experienced industry executives at its helm, but also that the troubled operator will likely move its headquarters from the small town of Coudersport, Pa., to Denver, AT&T Broadband's home base before it was merged into


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in late 2003.

Moving Adelphia's headquarters from Coudersport to Denver was understood to be a condition of Schleyer and Cooper's agreement to sign on to lead the company, according to two sources familiar with Adelphia. One source says Schleyer and Cooper, who left AT&T Broadband on completion of the Comcast deal, may want to staff Adelphia with one-time AT&T Broadband employees, 1700 of whom Comcast said it was laying off as part of its merger consolidation process.

An Adelphia spokesman didn't return a call requesting comment on the announcement.

Adelphia, which was run from Coudersport for half a century by the family of founder John J. Rigas, declared bankruptcy earlier this year after news of previously undisclosed debt sent its stock plummeting. Since then, Rigas and two of his sons have been charged with securities fraud. They have pleaded not guilty.

Whether Schleyer and Cooper will be able to turn Adelphia's operations around, and how good a job they are expected to do, remains an open question for Adelphia watchers. The financial performance of AT&T Broadband -- which parent company


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assembled from two major cable TV purchases -- lagged behind those of other cable operators. Last year, the management team at AT&T Broadband insisted it was catching up, but the Comcast deal took that job out of their hands.

Last week, a column in

The New York Times

characterized Adelphia employment contracts Cooper and Schleyer were preparing to sign as remarkably generous, thanks to performance benchmarks that appeared easy for the men to exceed.

Reports that the two men were up for the CEO and COO posts started circulating in early November.