Former News International chief to become Virgin Media CEO

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Tom Mockridge to take over from Neil Berkett once Liberty Global deal closes.

Former News International chief executive Tom Mockridge will succeed Neil Berkett as CEO of Virgin Media once Liberty Global has completed its acquisition of the U.K. cableco.

In addition to his most recent role, which he left in December, Mockridge has served as CEO of News Corp’s European TV operations and as CEO of Sky Italia.

“Tom will bring to Virgin Media a breadth of experience in the pay-TV industry, both in the U.K. and throughout Europe,” said Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, who also praised Virgin’s outgoing chief Neil Berkett in a statement on Wednesday.

“[Neil] has done an outstanding job at Virgin Media and will be missed by all,” he said. Liberty Global’s $23.3 billion acquisition of Virgin Media will be voted on by shareholders of both companies in early June. If approved, the transaction is expected to close shortly afterwards, whereupon Mockridge will assume his new role, reporting to Fries.

“Thanks to the incredible energy of its employees and the loyalty of its customers, Virgin Media has become the U.K.’s leading broadband communications company and has developed an immensely powerful media brand,” said Mockridge. “I keenly anticipate joining the team as it continues to deliver the cutting-edge TV and broadband products and services that excite and inspire its customers across the U.K.”