Sirius XM Names Jim Meyer Interim CEO As Mel Karmazin Resigns

UPDATE, 6:56 AM: As interim CEO, Jim Meyer will collect a base salary of $1.3M per year, plus annual bonuses to be determined by the board, in a new contract that runs until October 31, 2013, the company says in an SEC filing. He can retire then, if he wants. And if Sirius XM picks someone else to be CEO then he can leave with “an additional bonus to reflect his contributions.”

PREVIOUS, 6:06 AM: The change takes place today: Mel Karmazin resigned as CEO and from the board, Sirius XM says. With Liberty Media poised to take control of the satellite radio company (it owns 49.8% of the voting shares), Karmazin had already announced that he would leave in February when his contract expires. Jim Meyer, who had been President of Sales and Operations since May 2004, now joins the board. Directors have formed a search committee, led by Liberty CEO Greg Maffei, that will consider “both internal and external candidates, including Mr. Meyer” to take the top job on a more long-term basis, the company says. Lazard Capital Markets’ Barton Crockett notes that “investors have had limited interaction with Meyer.” The exec commutes from Indianapolis; the company pays for his travel expenses and for an apartment in New York. Board Chairman Eddy Hartenstein says that Meyer’s experience should make this “a seamless transition” and thanked Karmazin for his “leadership, strategic vision and operating focus.” No comment this morning from the usually outspoken longtime Sirius XM chief. The company’s shares are up 1% in pre-market trading.

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