Former Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton, who ran the satellite TV giant for four years through one of its more prolific periods of product innovation, died Saturday at the age of 68 after a brief illness.
Clayton, a 42-year veteran of the telecom industry, joined Dish in 2011. Prior to Dish he served as chairman and CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, president and CEO, respectively of telecom providers Global Crossing and Frontier Communications and helping to launch DirecTV at Thomson Consumer Electronics in concert with Hughes Electronics. He also led RCA’s marketing and sales efforts for TVs and VCRs.
Clayton retired retired from Dish in 2015 after leading the satellite TV service provider through some of its most high-profile product launches – the Hopper digital video recorder and the Sling TV over-the-top service to name a few.
Clayton was a well-respected executive but also one of the industry’s consummate showmen. In launching The Hopper at CES in 2012, Clayton took the stage cradling a baby kangaroo -- one of The Hopper’s spin-off products was called The Joey -- promising a “new dawn" for the satellite company.
“Joe was a man of passion and vision whose influence on our industry is remarkable in its breadth and depth,” Dish founder and chairman Charlie Ergen said in a statement. “As a master marketer, his brands, including RCA, DirecTV, Sirius Satellite Radio and Dish, were welcomed into tens of millions of American homes. As importantly, he mentored and influenced generations of leaders across our industry, including me. I am grateful for Joe’s leadership, his friendship and his generosity.”
Clayton is survived by his wife, Janet, daughters Megan Stovall (Matthew), Kelly Herr (Brock), Kathleen Reitz (Andy), and Molly; son John Paul; grandchildren Samuel, Abigail, William and Lucas Paul; brother Mike Clayton (Leigh Ann); and sister Ellen Willett (Jerry).