El Segundo, Calif. — Eddy Hartenstein, vice chairman of DirecTV, who has stood as the satellite TV service’s figurehead since its inception, announced he will retire from the company, effective Dec. 31, 2004.
During his tenure, DirecTV has grown to become the second-largest pay television service in the United States, with more than 13.5 million customers.
Hartenstein's career with the company began in 1972 when it was known as Hughes Aircraft Company. He became the president of DirecTV at its inception in 1990, and remained its chairman and CEO through December 2003 upon the sale of General Motors' interest in the company to News Corporation.
In a statement announcing his retirement, Hartenstein said: “The highlight of my career has been these past 15 years while we conceived and brought to reality the best experience in television, which today is viewed in one of every eight television homes across America. It's been a privilege to work with the enormously talented men and women at DirecTV and all of our programming, distribution and manufacturing partners during this time.”
Hartenstein continued, “As DirecTV approaches the one-year anniversary of the transformation from a GM subsidiary into the News Corp. family of companies, the transition process is ahead of schedule. Management is in great hands and I look forward to retirement and watching the continued growth and innovation of DirecTV as its most ardent customer.”
Commenting on Hartenstein’s decision, Chase Carey, DirecTV Group’s CEO, said, “Eddy has not only been a colleague but a friend for more than 10 years. His expertise and counsel have been critical to our progress during the last year. All of us at DirecTV wish Eddy all the best as he goes forward and with the knowledge that he will always be part of the DirecTV family.”
“Eddy deserves tremendous credit for the creation and growth of DirecTV as a leader in the television world today," said Rupert Murdoch, News Corp and DirecTV Group’s chairman. “I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all his efforts and contributions.”
In addition to serving DirecTV, Hartenstein had been a leader of the satellite industry, serving as SBCA chair from 2001 to 2003. He is currently an active member of SBCA’s executive committee and board.
“SBCA salutes Eddy W. Hartenstein for his work on the satellite consumer industry’s behalf. He was truly a pioneer, and his vision and leadership helped define a major new powerhouse in television entertainment,” said Richard DalBello, SBCA president. “Eddy’s passion went beyond DirecTV, and he helped make our industry the force it is today. SBCA thanks Eddy for his constant support and guidance over the years and wishes him the very best in his retirement.”