Former Sirius XM Head Karmazin Says He Wants to Be CEO Again

Former Sirius XM Radio Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mel Karmazin, who left last year after Liberty Media Corp. announced plans to take control of the company, said he wants to run another media organization.

Karmazin, 69, is in his “second retirement” following an earlier break from corporate leadership in 2004, and he plans to have a third, he said during a CNBC interview today. He said he’s looking for a public company with an independent board and hasn’t found an opportunity that suits him yet.

Karmazin would like to be in a role with control similar to Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes or Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger, although at a smaller company with more “turnaround” opportunities, he said. Karmazin was the CEO of CBS Radio Inc. and the president of Viacom Inc. until June 2004. He quit after years of tension with Viacom’s then-CEO, Sumner Redstone.

Karmazin joined New York-based Sirius later that year and presided over its merger with XM Satellite Radio in 2008. Months after the deal, on the brink of bankruptcy, Sirius accepted a $530 million loan from Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, giving Liberty a 40 percent stake in the company.

Liberty has built that stake to just under 50 percent and has said it plans to take majority control. Karmazin quit in October instead of working for billionaire Malone.

Sirius shares gained 59 percent last year as auto sales recovered. Sirius radios come pre-installed in about two-thirds of new cars. Sirius named James E. Meyer as interim CEO in December.

Karmazin may contact New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to offer help rebuilding the Jersey Shore from Hurricane Sandy’s damage if he can’t find another media job, he said.

Sirius fell less than 1 percent to $3.14 at the close in New York.

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