Not long after Wall St. ended its session this afternoon the Board of Directors at Sirius Satellite Radio announcedthat former Viacom second-in-command, Mel Karmazin had been named CEO of the satcaster, with former CEO Joseph Clayton now taking on the role of board Chairman.
Commenting on the changing of the guard Clayton said, "The hiring of Mel Karmazin is the final piece in the turnaround of Sirius that began when I joined the company three years ago. My contract was ending on December 31, and I advised the Board of Directors that I was willing to stay on for a transitional period. When Mel left Viacom, we all felt we had a unique opportunity."
"I am very confident that Mel will accelerate the very positive momentum that we have established at Sirius in the past two years," added Clayton. "Our recent announcement of the signing of Howard Stern, our exclusive relationship with the National Football League and the partnerships with automakers such as DaimlerChrysler, Ford and BMW are all indications that satellite radio has a central role in the future of broadcast media. We fully expect to achieve the subscriber projections we have given to Wall Street for this year."
Karmazin, who served as President and CEO of Viacom until earlier this year, said, "This is a perfect opportunity for me because I want to lead a growth company that can reshape the landscape of the radio business. I took Infinity Broadcasting and Westwood One to leadership positions in the industry and am confident that Sirius will become a market leader in short order. I will inherit a first-class management group led by co-presidents Scott Greenstein and James Meyer. I look forward to working closely with Joe Clayton and the strong team that he has assembled."
Greenstein said, "Mel Karmazin is a legend in the entertainment industry and can help us build the new medium of satellite radio." Mr. Meyer added, "I see increased enthusiasm in our retail channel and more confidence in our automotive partners. They can see what we are doing with the Sirius brand and service offering."
Even though the news came out after Stern started taping his David Letterman appearance, it looks like tonight's show just got more interesting