Lutz Schüler, currently CEO of German cable operator Unitymedia, will become Chief Operating Officer of UK cable company Virgin Media from September 10, 2018.
At Unitymedia Schüler will be replaced by current Chief Financial Officer Winfried ‘Winni’ Rapp. Both Unitymedia and Virgin Media are subsidiaries of Liberty Global.
“For the past eight years Lutz has done an outstanding job running our operations in Germany and creating significant value for Liberty Global. Since our initial acquisitions in 2009 and 2010, Unitymedia has grown revenue 60% and operating cash flow 80%, and has led the market in broadband innovation,” said Mike Fries, President and CEO of Liberty Global.
“With the pending sale of our German business to Vodafone, Virgin Media takes on greater importance within our platform in Europe and we want the strongest team possible driving this business. I couldn’t be happier to keep Lutz in the Liberty family,” added Fries.
Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, commented: “I’m excited to have Lutz join the Virgin Media team. His track record in Germany as an operator speaks for itself and he will provide a new level of marketing energy and leadership that will benefit Virgin Media customers and employees.”
Schüler said: “I’m thrilled to join the Virgin Media team and work alongside Tom. As I embrace this new challenge, I know that Unitymedia will be in strong, capable hands under Winni’s leadership. He is committed to our customers, to our employees and to the communities we serve.”
Rapp added: “Taking the reins at Unitymedia at this critical time is a great honour. If you want to see the future of the TV and broadband business you need to look no further than Unitymedia. I will continue our proud tradition of innovation and our customers will be well served when Unitymedia and Vodafone join forces. This is an exciting time for our customers and employees.”
Schüler will take over the role that was vacated in March 2018 and has been filled in the interim by two leaders of Virgin Media’s UK Consumer Division, Jeff Dodds and Neil Bartholomew. Both will retain their roles heading the Mobile and Customer Operations, respectively, when Schüler joins in September.
In May 2018 Liberty Global announced the sale of its operations in Germany, as well as three other Eastern European markets, to Vodafone for €18.4 billion. Schüler will be appointed chairman of Unitymedia’s supervisory board to ensure continuity through the conclusion of the regulatory approval process, expected to occur in mid-2019. The current chairman, Diederik Karsten, will remain on the supervisory board.