NEW YORK Sirius Satellite Radio, the subscription radio service that last month signed Howard Stern to a five-year, $500 million contract, said it has hired Stern's former boss and former Viacom COO Mel Karmazin to serve as CEO.
Karmazin succeeds Joe Clayton, who will remain at Sirius as chairman of the board.
"The hiring of Mel Karmazin is the final piece in the turnaround of Sirius that began when I joined the company three years ago," said Clayton, whose contract expires Dec. 31. "When Mel left Viacom, we all felt we had a unique opportunity."
Since Karmazin's departure from Viacom in May, he has indicated that he wished to hold a top post at a high-growth company. Even with Sirius' recent content deals with Stern and the National Football League, Karmazin will have his work cut out for him. With 700,000 subscribers, Sirius lags by a wide margin the 2.5 million subscribers of its sole competitor, XM Satellite Radio.
"This is a perfect opportunity for me because I want to lead a growth company that can reshape the landscape of the radio business. I took Infinity Broadcasting and Westwood One to leadership positions in the industry and am confident that Sirius will become a market leader in short order," Karmazin said.