20th December 2004 The CIO of cable communications company NTL has resigned, re-igniting speculation about a possible merger with fellow UK company Telewest.
NTL CEO Simon Duffy announced the resignation of Phil Pavitt, CIO in an email to the company. Duffy said Pavitt’s decision to resign was “genuinely personal”, and described him as “part of the furniture” at NTL.
Pavitt was responsible for NTL’s massive Harmony project which aims to consolidate 28 separate customer relationship management systems and various billing platforms. NTL has built up a labyrinth of legacy systems following a spate of acquisitions throughout the 1990s.
But Pavitt’s resignation will be seized on by some market watchers as further indication of an impending merger of NTL and rival cable company Telewest. It was reported earlier in December that American investors in the two companies predict merger talks to begin early next year.
One such investor was quoted as saying : “The only reason [such a merger] wouldn’t get done is ego.”
NTL and Telewest face intense competition in the broadcast arena from satellite television provider BSkyB, and the Freeview service from the BBC. Meanwhile, both have struggled to challenge the dominance of BT in the broadband and telephone market. Consolidation of the two companies would enable them to withstand this competition.