Shane O’Neill, Senior Vice President and chief strategy officer at pay TV operator and Europe’s largest broadband provider Liberty Global, resigned Dec. 30, 2011, with no reason given. O’Neill had overseen key strategic planning, mergers, acquisitions and corporate development activities, including launch of the Horizon Gateway, a hybrid set-top box at the center of Liberty Global’s TV Anywhere strategy. Announced in December 2009, Horizon was unveiled at IBC 2011, with the start of a consumer trial at UPC Netherlands. Commercial launch is following early this year, starting with the Netherlands and then in Switzerland, Germany and Ireland. The box, manufactured by Samsung using an Intel processor, is designed both to distribute services around a home network and to bring web content to TVs. After being delayed by a year, various versions have been introduced, including ones with or without a hard disk. The multiroom functionality will follow later this year through a “client STB,” that can be linked wirelessly to the Horizon Gateway over WiFi.
O’Neill was also president of Chellomedia, Liberty Global’s content division, and was responsible for LGI Ventures, the group’s investment arm. As well as his role with Horizon, he determined and executed the strategy that has turned around the huge UPC Broadband division, which comprises Liberty Global’s core European cable businesses. Apart from UPC Broadband, Liberty Global trades under various brands in 10 European countries, although excluding France, the UK, Spain and Italy.