Tom Mockridge appointed as Virgin Media chief executive

Former News International boss to take Neil Berkett's previous role once UK group's takeover by Liberty Global is completed

Tom Mockridge, the former News International chief executive, is to replace Neil Berkett in the same role at Virgin Media when the UK cable company's takeover by John Malone's Liberty Global is completed.

Colorado-based Liberty Global announced in a statement early on Wednesday that it expected the £15bn takeover of Virgin Media to be completed in June, with Berkett staying in charge until the deal is completed. Mockridge will report to Mike Fries, the Liberty Global chief executive.

Mockridge quit News International in December after losing out to Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson for the top job in the separate book and newspaper publishing business that will be spun off from News Corporation's film and TV assets into a separately listed company later this year.

He had been parachuted in to Wapping from running News Corporation's Sky Italia pay-TV business in July 2011 to replace Rebekah Brooks at the height of the phone hacking scandal.

Liberty Global's takeover of Virgin Media will create a cable TV business serving 25 million customers in 14 countries including Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Virgin will retain its brand and the newly merged company will have its headquarters in the UK.

Fries said: "Tom will bring to Virgin Media a breadth of experience in the pay-TV industry, both in the UK and throughout Europe. I have known and worked with Tom for nearly 15 years and have always admired his leadership and operating success in a number of highly competitive media markets.

"We are fortunate to bring an executive of Tom's talent and experience in to lead Virgin Media in its next phase of growth. I'd also like to wish Neil Berkett all the best in his future endeavours. He has done an outstanding job at Virgin Media and will be missed by all."

Mockridge said: "Thanks to the incredible energy of its employees and the loyalty of its customers, Virgin Media has become the UK's leading broadband communications company and has developed an immensely powerful media brand. I keenly anticipate joining the team as it continues to deliver the cutting-edge TV and broadband products and services that excite and inspire its customers across the UK. I'm also excited to become part of the Liberty Global family and look forward to working closely with Mike and his team as they continue to build the world's largest cable platform."

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