Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) announced the retirement of Joseph Clayton Monday, less than two months after the CEO introduced the disruptive Sling TV OTT service that was developed under his watch.
Clayton (Source: Dish)
Clayton, a 42-year consumer electronics industry veteran, joined Dish in 2011 from satellite radio operator Sirius XM. He'll step down March 31, with Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen returning to the role of chairman and CEO.
In addition to launching Sling TV under Clayton's direction, Dish established the Hopper DVR as one of pay-TV's most innovative set-top platforms. Clayton departs as Dish turns its focus away from what it routinely refers to as a "mature" pay-TV business and towards developing wireless and OTT services.
Perhaps foretelling of Clayton's future was the announcement last month that Roger Lynch would be in charge of the new Sling Television unit.
As for Ergen, he told investors during the company's fourth quarter conference call Monday that the "timing is good" for him to get back to hands-on operational control of Dish.
"I will stay on as CEO until I can find someone better to replace me," he said. "With Joe leaving, I thought it was a good time to get back into day-to-day operations."
Clayton served as chairman and in various other executive roles at Sirius from 2004-2008. He also had top-level executive positions at Global Crossing North America, Frontier Corp. and Thomson S.A.
"This team has done what it said it would--our operations are stronger, our leadership is deeper, our outlook is as positive as it ever has been," said Clayton. "We were able to launch the Hopper, dishNet and Sling TV, navigate two spectrum auctions and deliver for our customers throughout. All of it was with great success--I am proud to have served with such a remarkable team."
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