Industry Moves UK: Virgin Media CEO Steve Burch Resigns

Steve Burch, CEO of the U.K.’s first quad-play broadband, TV and phone operator Virgin Media (Nasdaq: VMED), has quit unexpectedly, citing family reasons. Birch will return to the U.S. while COO Neil Berkett will become acting CEO, though a search will begin for a permanent replacement, the company announced. It comes at an uncertain time for Virgin Media. The company continued to shed digital TV customers in Q2 following a highly public dispute with BSkyB over TV channel carriage rates that left Virgin customers without key shows like Lost and 24, though its broadband base grew and it is the U.K.’s second-placed broadband provider after BT. A planned auction sell-off is postponed thanks to concern about credit markets. Though Virgin Media, which relaunched this February after the merger of ntl/Telewest and Virgin Mobile U.K., saw its multi-play offering as its strength, and has improved customer service significantly from the bad old days, it this month brought in former 3 marketing director Graham Oxby as MD to concentrate on integrating the mobile component.