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DirecTv Picks Odie Donald As President

Following a lengthy search to find the successor to Eddy Hartenstein as president of DirecTv, Hughes Elec-tronics has appointed Odie Donald, a 25-year veteran of BellSouth, to stress “service” for the DBS provider’s exploding subscriber base.

Donald, who was last Cable & Wireless for the Caribbean and Atlantic region CEO, will succeed Hartenstein, who was recently promoted to chairman of DirecTv global operations and senior executive VP of parent Hughes Electronics Consumer Sector. Hartenstein now oversees worldwide operations for DirecTv in addition to developing consumer-marketing strategies for Hughes Network Systems’ DirecPC and Spaceway satellite-delivered high-speed Internet services.

Donald, meanwhile, adds the Hughes Electronics VP title to his role as DirecTv president and will have a hand in the management of the recently realigned electronics giant. DirecTv currently reports 8.3 million U.S. subscribers.

In addition to hiring Donald, DirecTv announced the promotions of several other key company veterans. Larry Chapman, DirecTv new ventures, advanced products and programming executive VP, becomes president of DirecTv Global Digital Media, a new Hughes division. Chapman will be responsible for development and acquisition of content and television-based interactive services for DirecTv businesses worldwide. Steve Cox was also named executive VP, and Brad Beale was named senior VP of the same division.

Bill Casamo, DirecTv sales, distribution and customer service executive VP, adds the role of DirecTv merchandising president. His new responsibilities include overseeing marketing and distribution of DirecPC interactive data services and new-generation two-way DirecPC services.