Long-time media executive Mel Karmazin stepped down a little early as CEO of Sirius XM Radio, replaced by current president of sales James Meyer, who will serve as interim chief of the satellite radio giant.
Karmazin had originally said he would leave Sirius on Feb. 1. With the appointment of Meyer, Karmazin has officially resigned as CEO and from Sirius XM’s board of directors, the company said.
Karmazin, who joined Sirius in 2004, helped steer the company through its merger with XM Satellite Radio in 2008 and helped engineer the $530 million investment from Liberty Media in 2009 that saved the company from bankruptcy. Ironically, it was that Liberty investment that indirectly led to Karmazin’s departure -- the former CEO had objected to Liberty’s move to gain full control of the company. Earlier this year, Karmazin said he would not renew his employment contract with Sirius and planned to step down at the end of the year.
"We are fortunate to have a very strong executive team in place at SiriusXM and in Jim we have a highly qualified leader and operator," Sirius chairman Eddy Hartenstein said in a statement. "Jim has been an integral part of Sirius XM for eight years and his extensive knowledge of Sirius XM's business and significant industry experience are a great asset. Given Jim's current position, we expect this will be a seamless transition. Thanks to Mel Karmazin's leadership, strategic vision and operating focus, Sirius XM is poised for a continuation of the results and performance investors have come to expect."
Meyer has been president of sales and operations since May 2004. With his new appointment he will also receve a seat on Sirius’ board of directors. Prior to joining Sirius XM, he was president of Aegis Ventures, a general management consulting company, and provided consultant support for Sirius XM. Before Aegis, he held a number of senior management positions in consumer electronics, including the senior executive vice president of Digital Media Solutions for Thomson, a worldwide leader in consumer electronics.
"I'm honored to lead Sirius XM during this important time for our company," Meyer said in a statement. "Sirius XM is a great business and I look forward to working with our talented management team to continue to deliver the best content and service to our subscribers, while enhancing value to our shareholders."
The Sirius XM board has formed a search committee, chaired by Liberty CEO Greg Maffei and including James Mooney and Hartenstein, to consider both internal and external candidates, including Meyer, for the company's next CEO.