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Businessweek Archives

Malone's Cable Guy

In Business This Week: HEADLINER: LEO J. HINDERY


Ever heard of Leo Hindery? Probably not, but in the cable-TV industry he's got quite a rep. At InterMedia Partners, the nation's 13th-largest cable operator, he boosted cash flow 12% and subscribers 4.7% over the last year, double the industry's average rates. Now, Hindery, 49, can make his mark on a much larger canvas: John Malone, chief of sputtering cable giant Tele-Communications Inc., which owns an InterMedia stake, tapped Hindery on Feb. 7 to become TCI's president and heir apparent as CEO.

Hindery is likely to continue TCI's downsizing. With $14 billion in debt, TCI has seen its bond rating fall to near junk status. Its stock is trading below $15, near its 12-month low. Hindery plans to break TCI up into units to provide better customer service, potentially helping it to raise prices and keep customers from jumping to satellite TV. Good ideas, perhaps. But Malone, who remains CEO and chairman, has run TCI with an iron hand for 23 years. The big question now: Just how much leeway will he give Hindery to tune up TCI?By Ronald Grover EDITED BY THANE PETERSONReturn to top


LIFE AT THE TOP OF THE trash heap is proving precarious for Phillip Rooney, CEO of WMX Technologies. Seven months into the job, Rooney, a 28-year WMX veteran, announced a sweeping restructuring on Feb. 4--but angered Wall Street by offering little hope of a quick earnings turnaround. Now George Soros, whose funds control 5.2% of WMX, is calling for Rooney's head. After meeting with outside WMX directors on Feb. 11 and making no headway, Soros colleagues say they want to install four of their own directors. "Our perception is that Mr. Rooney is subpar," snipes Gerald Kerner, managing director of Duquesne Capital Management LLC, a fund with links to Soros. Rooney insists he can resist such "personal attacks." He has the backing of the board and says he can eventually turn the stock around.EDITED BY THANE PETERSONReturn to top


A YEAR AGO, GILBERT Amelio was hired to bring stability to Apple Computer. Some stability. With his recovery plan in shambles, management turmoil at Apple is reaching fever pitch. Among those on the way out: Mac unit chief G. Fred Forsyth, worldwide sales boss John Floisand, who was promoted just last April with a $500,000-a-year contract, and top marketeer Satjiv Chahil. Technologist Ellen Hancock, and chief operating officer Marco Landi now have diminished roles and also may go. Meanwhile, Vice-President Heidi Roizen, who was hired to help Apple keep software developers in the Mac camp, resigned on Feb. 10.EDITED BY THANE PETERSONReturn to top


ON FEB. 11, MITSUBISHI Motor Mfg. got the report it ordered on allegations of sexual harassment at its Normal (Ill.) auto plant--but the company isn't off the hook yet. Last year, 30 current and former female employees and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused the company of allowing widespread sexual harassment at the plant. In response, the company hired ex-Labor Secretary Lynn Martin to improve workplace rules. She has made 34 recommendations, such as creating a task force for handling complaints that would report to the CEO. But the company reports no progress in talks with the EEOC and the 30 women, who are suing for damages.EDITED BY THANE PETERSONReturn to top

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