by BRAD ROLLINS
Top Grande Communications executive Matthew M. Murphy is leaving his post as president and general manger of the San Marcos-based cable, telephone and Internet provider. His resignation is effective Oct. 1.Matt Rohre, vice president for retail operations since 2013, will serve as interim vice president of operations and general manager, a new position “responsible for oversight and management of Grande’s operational performance and strategic direction,” chief executive officer Jim Holanda said. Rohre joined Grande Communications in 2002 after a career that included positions at Marconi, AT&T Broadband, TCI and Telecable.
“We are extremely confident and grateful to have Matt Rohre as interim leader. His experience and knowledge of the telecom industry are invaluable to the company,” Holanda said.
Murphy was installed as president five years ago when Boston private equity investment firm, Abry Partners, acquired a majority ownership interest in Grande. He is leaving Grande to start his own private equity firm, company officials said.
Abry spent about $265 million to take over Grande through an infusion of new capital and repayment of the company’s accumulated loans, some of which bore interest rates of 14 percent and were scheduled to become due in 2011, Murphy said in December 2009. Abry also put Grande under the management of a cable company it already owned, Quincy, Mass.-based Atlantic Broadband.
With the new financing, Grande made aggressive expansion efforts that included upgrades to its technical infrastructure and expansion of its footprint, which includes parts of San Marcos Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Waco, Corpus Christi, Midland and Odessa.
During Murphy’s tenure, the company began offering video-on-demand service, a larger menu of high-definition channels and streamlined access to Netflix programming. Earlier this year, Grande scored a headline-grabbing publicity coup when it beat two of its much larger competitors, Google and AT&T, to offering super-fast, 1-gigabit-per-second Internet service in parts of Austin.
In cities where it competes, the Grande had a 25 percent cable market share and 28 percent broadband market share, according to a May 2013 report issued by Standard & Poor’s. The financial services firm characterized Grande’s market shares as “below industry average video and broadband penetration a third player in markets served by Time Warner Cable and AT&T.”
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