Sirius Names Interim CEO James Meyer to Job Permanently

Sirius XM Radio Inc. named interim Chief Executive Officer James Meyer to the job permanently, solidifying the satellite-radio company’s leadership after a takeover by billionaire John Malone earlier this year.

Meyer will assume the role immediately, the New York-based company said today in a statement. He had taken the job on an interim basis in December after longtime CEO Mel Karmazin resigned. Before that, Meyer had served as Sirius’s president of sales and operations since 2004.

“In no means do I think I can replace Mel, because we’re different people, and I’m going to be my own guy,” Meyer said in an interview. “But I think you’re going to see a lot more of the same in terms of what got us to where we are today -- a very deliberate focus on growing our subscriber base, controlling our costs, satisfying our customers and focusing on cash flow.”

Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. gained majority control of Sirius in January after getting regulatory approval for the deal. Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei became Sirius’s chairman earlier this month as part of a board shakeup. Karmazin, who presided over Sirius’s merger with XM Satellite Radio in 2008, stepped down from the CEO job after clashing with Malone.

Sirius Spinoff?

Malone said last year he planned to eventually spin off Liberty’s stake in Sirius.

“Greg Maffei and John Malone are clearly aligned with me on where we’re going as a company,” Meyer said. “They’ll do whatever’s best for them as far as where Liberty may want to go.”

Meyer’s appointment “should be greeted favorably by investors,” Jessica Reif Cohen, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York, said in a note to clients. She has a buy rating on the shares, with a price target of $4.

Sirius shares rose 5.9 percent to $3.25 at the close in New York, the biggest one-day gain in more than eight months. The stock has climbed 12 percent this year, in line with the gain in the Russell 1000 Index.

Separately, Sirius reported first-quarter earnings of 2 cents a share, matching analysts’ estimates. Sales climbed 12 percent to $897.4 million in the period. Analysts had projected $906.7 million on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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