Charlie Ergen To Reclaim CEO Title At Dish Network As Joe Clayton Retires

It’s always been Charlie Ergen’s company — he controls 81.9% of the voting shares — but now he’ll be more hands-on as Dish Network morphs into something more than a satellite provider. Consumer electronics industry vet Joe Clayton will retire as CEO at the end of March, to be replaced by Chairman Ergen, Dish says today.

Clayton  “has set the stage for what will become a new company, and with that he has prepared a new class of management to address the adventures coming our way,” Ergen said in a statement this morning.

Clayton, who became CEO in 2011, was at the center of often controversial developments including Dish’s launch of the ad-zapping Hopper DVR, the recent introduction of the Sling TV streaming service, and  contract battles with programmers including Time Warner, CBS, and Fox. The company also bought, and then closed, the Blockbuster video chain.

Ergen has been amassing wireless spectrum rights and is interesting in turning Dish into a mobile broadband and communications provider.

Along with the announcement about Clayton, Dish filed its annual report at the SEC. It ended the year with about 14 million satellite subscribers, a loss of 79,000 since the end of 2013. The company reported Q4 net income of $409.9 million, +42.3%, on revenues of $3.68 billion, +4.1%. The top line was on target with analyst expectations. Earnings at 88 cents per share were well ahead of expectations for 43 cents.

Dish said it was helped by a “one-time reduction in programming related expenses” — probably resulting from the month-long period ending November 21 when most of the Turner networks were dark.

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