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Unitymedia CEO moves to Virgin Media

Unitymedia CEO Lutz Schüler is swapping one Liberty Global division for another after being appointed chief operating officer of Virgin Media.

Lutz Schüler

Schüler, who has been chief executive of Germany’s Unitymedia since January 2011, is due to take up his new post in the UK on September 10 and will report directly to Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge.

He and takes over from Jeff Dodds and Neil Bartholomew, who have been filling in on an interim basis since former Virgin Media COO Dana Strong moved to Comcast earlier this year to become the US operator’s president of consumer services.

Dodds and Bartholomew will retain key leadership roles at Virgin following Schüler’s arrival, heading up mobile and customer operations, respectively. At Unitymedia, Schüler will be replaced by chief financial officer Winfried Rapp.

“For the past eight years Lutz has done an outstanding job running our operations in Germany and creating significant value for Liberty Global,” said Liberty Global president and CEO, Mike Fries.

“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. 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.”

Tom Mockridge said that Schüler’s track record in Germany speaks for itself and that he will “provide a new level of marketing energy and leadership that will benefit Virgin Media customers and employees.”

Schüler said: “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.”