Dish Network, sitting atop a pile of wireless spectrum and seeking a telecom partner to help build it out, said Wednesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it has named former Qwest Communications president and chief operating officer Afshin Mohebbi to its board of directors.
Mohebbi’s appointment comes after Dish’s board agreed to increase its size from 10 to 11 members.
Mohebbi is a private investor and advisor to public and private companies and has served as a Senior Advisor to TPG Capital since March 2003. But it is his telecom experience that should be a boon to Dish, which has so far unsuccessfully tried to attract a partner, either by acquisition or otherwise, to help it build out its vast wireless spectrum, currently valued at about $17 billion. A 31-year veteran of the telecom business – he began his career at Pacific Bell in 1983 – Mohebbi served as president and COO of Qwest from April 2001 to December 2002, but has a long history in the telecom business – he was president of worldwide operations at Qwest from July 2000 to April 2001 and was president and COO of the company from 1999 to 2000 prior to its merger with US West. Before joining Qwest, he served as president and managing director of the United Kingdom Markets for British Telecom and was a member of its management board from 1997 to 1999.
While Mohebbi’s appointment is no guarantee that Dish will find a telecom partner, his expertise will help it in its quest. In a statement announcing his appointment Dish noted his “financial and managerial experience in the telecommunications and related industries,” as a reason for his appointment.