Charter Sinks as CEO Announces Departure

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Charter Communications (CHTR) - Get Report was down 16.6% in midmorning, after CEO Jerry Kent said he was stepping down effective Friday.

No reason for Kent's departure was given, but his employment contract was set to expire December 23. Kent said he would continue as a consultant for the company.

Kent said he intended to sell his interests in Charter Investments to Paul Allen, the co-founder of

Microsoft

who is chairman of Charter's board.

The company grew dramatically under Kent's leadership, as Charter acquired 17 cable companies and increased subscribers to 7 million from 1.3 million.

Also this morning, Goldman Sachs issued optimistic comments on cable companies.

Goldman said it expected new services additions for cable companies to fall below its estimates as a reaction to recent events, but said that even a significant shortfall would have only a modest impact on the cable industry.

Goldman said Charter remains a favorite in the sector, but that less leveraged operators, including

Comcast

(CMCSK)

and

Cox

(COX)

, were becoming more attractive.

Comcast was up 2.3%, while Cox was unchanged.