Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen relinquished his role as CEO today (5 December) to focus more attention on the company’s emerging mobile business.
COO Erik Carlson was promoted to take on the CEO role, but will continue to report to Ergen. In a statement announcing the move, Ergen said Carlson’s 20 year tenure at the company means he brings “a complete understanding of the business opportunities both Dish TV and Sling TV possess.”
“I have every confidence that under Erik’s leadership our new organisational structure will deliver value for Dish TV and Sling TV and will aid our entry into wireless.”
This isn’t the first time Ergen relinquished control of Dish Network’s payTV business: he did so once before in 2011. However, Ergen’s latest move comes as the company prepares for a push into wireless to meet spectrum buildout requirements set by the Federal Communications Commission for the company’s 700MHz E-Block and AWS-4 assets.
In its Q3 earnings announcement, Ergen indicated Dish Network is moving ahead with a two-phase strategy which will see it first construct a low power narrowband IoT network before moving on to 5G down the line.
Ergen and Dish EVP Tom Cullen indicated at the time the first phase of the project is well underway with Dish Network expanding its wireless team, finalising contracts with radio access equipment vendors, and negotiating with chipset and module vendors.
With Ergen shifting to head wireless efforts, Dish Network took the opportunity to shuffle other members of its executive team.
Brian Neylon, former EVP of customer acquisition and retention, will now serve as group president of Dish TV; Warren Schlichting steps up from EVP of marketing, programming and media sales to head Sling TV; EVP John Swieringa will fill in Carlson’s old COO role; while EVP and CTO Vivek Khemak joins the leadership team.