Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge steps down

(Image credit: Tom Mockridge) (Image credit: Virgin Media)

Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge will step down as CEO on June 11 and will be replaced by Lutz Schuler.

New Zealand-born Mockridge had held his position since Liberty Global acquired Virgin Media back in 2013 but now wants to return to Italy with his family. Mockridge had been chief executive of Sky Italia between 2003 and 2008 and his wife is an Italian citizen.

Under his tenure, Virgin Media has embarked on the single largest network expansion in the company’s history and has transformed Virgin Mobile into a ‘thick’ Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that gives it more control over the service.

Virgin Media Mockridge

“I want to thank Tom for his tireless commitment to transforming Virgin Media since we acquired the business in 2013,” said Mike Fries, Liberty Global CEO. “Under Tom’s leadership, operating cash flow increased 35% and Virgin Media is now recognized as the leader in ultrafast broadband, the best entertainment and superior quality of service.

“While he will be spending more time in Italy, I’m sure he will remain close to the action in our industry for a long time to come.”

“It has been a privilege to lead Virgin Media over the past six years,” said Mockridge.

The succession plan appears to have been in place for some time, with Schuler joining Virgin Media as chief operating officer in September 2018. Previously, Schuler had spent eight years running Liberty Global’s cable interests in Germany.

Schuler’s priority will be to oversee the completion of Project Lightning as well as the possible transformation into a wholesale communications provider. It had been reported that Liberty was considering a move into wholesale but there are no concrete plans to do so.

“I am thrilled to be leading Virgin Media,” said Schuler. “After seven months working in our operations, I am more excited than ever about our continued growth potential with the customers and communities we serve in the UK and Ireland.”

“Lutz is an outstanding leader and operator,” added Fries. “During his eight years in Germany, Lutz led a talented team and created significant value. Since joining Virgin Media last year, he has made an immediate impact, uniting the team around a clear strategy for continued, best-in-class growth in the UK and Ireland. Tom, Lutz and I have prepared for this moment for some time now, so Lutz will hit the ground running from day one.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.