Virgin Media loses chief executive

Virgin Media chief executive Steve Burch is leaving the cable company for “family and personal reasons”. The company has confirmed that Burch will return to America and leave with immediate effect. Burch will also step down from Virgin Media’s board.

Chief operating officer Neil Berkett will take over as chief executive on an interim basis. The media company says it will start the search for a replacement shortly.

Burch joined NTL in January 2006 and led the merger and subsequent integration of NTL and Telewest, the acquisition of Virgin Mobile and the rebranding of the company’s rsidential opeartions under the Virgin brand.

Virgin Media chairman Jim Mooney says that Burch “contributed significantly” to the “transformation” of Virgin Media.

Mooney says: “Since he joined us, the company has emerged as the UK’s only ‘quad play’ provider and a genuinely distinctive presence in the world of communications and entertainment.”

Virgin Media, whose biggest individual shareholder is Richard Branson, is up for sale after attracting a number of private equity approaches.

It is also locked in an ongoing battle with satellite rival BSkyB over the carriage of Sky’s “basic” set of channels on the cable platform.

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