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Dish Names Carlson New CEO, Focuses on Wireless

Ergen remains chairman; reorg to focus on Dish TV, Sling TV and wireless

Dish Network shook up the ranks Tuesday, naming president and chief operating officer Erik Carlson CEO of the satellite company, and adding that it will devote more attention to the emerging wireless business.

Chairman Charlie Ergen will remain in that role but he will give up CEO responsibilities, which he assumed after former CEO Joe Clayton retired in 2015.

Dish has been accumulating wireless spectrum for years and is facing a 2020 deadline to build out at least 70 percent of its territory with a wireless service. The moves come just a few months after former Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch resigned to become CEO of streaming music service Pandora. In announcing Carlson’s appointment, Dish said it will create a group structure that will more effectively support its three segments – Dish satellite TV, Sling TV and the wireless business.

“With more than 20 years’ experience at Dish, Erik brings a complete understanding of the business opportunities both Dish TV and Sling TV possess,” Ergen said in a statement. “I have every confidence that under Erik’s leadership our new organizational structure will deliver value for Dish TV and Sling TV and will aid our entry into wireless.”

As part of the reorganization, the following executives will report to Carlson:

  • Brian Neylon: will serve as executive vice president (EVP), group president, Dish TV. Formerly EVP, customer acquisition and retention, he will have accountability for all aspects of the Dish TV group’s strategy and performance and will retain oversight of the company’s customer acquisition and retention departments.
  • Warren Schlichting: will serve as EVP, group president, Sling TV. Formerly EVP, marketing, programming and media sales, he will have accountability for all aspects of the Sling TV group’s strategy and performance and will retain oversight of the Dish media sales and programming departments.
  • John Swieringa: will succeed Carlson as COO for Dish and will oversee all operational departments supporting the company’s Dish TV, Sling TV and wireless groups, including the company’s customer support centers, its in-home installation workforce and the company’s IT department.
  • Vivek Khemka, EVP and chief technology officer. Khemka’s DishTechnologies organization supports Dish TV, Sling TV, and the wireless business. The organization is responsible for technology strategy, product management, engineering, product development, supply chain management, broadcast operations and OTT delivery.

In addition to restructuring the current executive team, the company has appointed Walmart veteran and human resources executive David Scott as chief human resources officer. Scott will serve Dish as an EVP and will join Disih’s management committee in February, reporting to Carlson.

Tim Messner, EVP and general counsel; Steve Swain, senior vice president (SVP) and chief financial officer; and Robert Toevs, VP, corporate communications, will report to Carlson.

In addition to Carlson, Ergen’s direct reports will include Tom Cullen, EVP, corporate development; Bernie Han, EVP, strategic planning; and Jeff Blum, SVP, public policy and government affairs.