End of the line for NTL's Knapp

The cable guy from NTL is leaving his post after 10 years of ups and downs

NTL announced on Tuesday that Barclay Knapp is stepping down from his role of chief executive at the end of this week -- drawing a line under a turbulent decade at the helm of what has become Britain's largest cable company.

Knapp explained that he was leaving the company he founded a decade ago because NTL's financial restructuring is largely complete. "With this (the second) quarter’s positive results and the favourable conditions I see ahead for NTL, I believe my mission in bringing NTL through its reorganisation has been accomplished,” said Knapp in a statement. Simon Duffy, currently NTL's chief operating officer, will replace Knapp as NTL chief executive.

Knapp's departure brings to an end a rollercoaster ride at NTL. He founded the firm, then called CableTel, in 1993. Initially, it controlled three regional cable franchises, but a string of acquisitions in the late 1990s made it Britain's dominant cable company.

Knapp won considerable praise at the time for this expansionist drive, but the dot-com and technology crash in 2000 meant an end to the good times. Having bought so many other cable firms, NTL was seriously indebted, and in 2002 it was forced to seek Chapter 11 bankrupcy protection while it restructured its debts.

This process effectively saw NTL taken away from its shareholders, who had helped to finance the growth of the firm, and handed to the firm's creditors.

Knapp will continue to work for NTL as a strategy advisor until the end of this year. Some customers may be hoping this this role will include a focus on the company's notoriously flaky email service.