The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association is expected to
undergo a leadership shakeup early next month with the departure of longtime
president Chuck Hewitt.
Expected to leave with Hewitt is Andy Paul, the SBCA's senior vice president
and top Capitol Hill lobbyist.
Hewitt has led the SBCA -- the Alexandria, Va.-based lobbying arm of the
direct-broadcast satellite industry -- for more than 15 years. Paul has been
with the organization for at least a decade, sources said.
Hewitt, sources said, has several years remaining on his contract, while Paul
has about one year left on his. Sources added that neither one plans to retire
and they would like become DBS-industry consultants.
The SBCA board is scheduled to meet Aug. 1, one day before the start of the
association's three-day national convention in Nashville, Tenn. The board is
expected to accept the resignations of Hewitt and Paul and to name Andy Wright,
currently vice president of government and legal affairs, as interim president,
The board is expected to announce that it will conduct a search to find
Hewitt's replacement. Wright, a former aide to Rep. Rich Boucher (D-Va.), is
expected to be a candidate for the top job.
Sources said the SBCA has been undergoing an organizational review for some
time, but they were unable to say whether Hewitt's and Paul's departures were
associated with merger issues related to DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar
Communications Corp., the nation's two largest direct-broadcast satellite carriers and the SBCA's
Sources said they doubted that the shakeup was related to the SBCA's effort
to block the FCC from issuing licenses to Northpoint Technology Ltd., which is
trying to gain approval to share DBS spectrum to provide local TV signals, cable
networks and high-speed Internet access.
Both DirecTV and EchoStar have Washington lobbyists and outside lawyers and
lobbyists on retainer.
Sources said the SBCA is planning to put more emphasis on government affairs
and public relations in the months ahead. Some wondered about that shift mainly
because, they added, the association has been quite active on both fronts for