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Michael O’Hara Leaves Thomson

Long-time Thomson executive VP Michael O’Hara has announced his resignation from the company, effective Sept. 29, to start up a new consulting firm called Summus Ventures Ltd., based here.

O’Hara, a 24-year Thomson veteran who helped direct the retail rollout of DirecTV equipment and services under the RCA brand, said in a letter to TWICE that “I will be joining and spending a substantial portion of my time as a senior advisor to [EchoStar chairman] Charlie Ergen and the Echostar team.”

“I will be helping with EchoStar’s channel strategies and growth, new merchandising schemes and overall business strategies,” he said. “I am really looking forward to working with the team.”

O’Hara added that he will also “maintain a direct relationship with [Thomson chairman] Frank Dangeard and Thomson beyond September.”

O’Hara said he agreed with Dangeard about a year ago to “step away from my operational duties at Thomson,” with the expectation that the sale of certain Thomson CE assets would be completed by then.

In the interim he was helping to coordinate the acquisition of a partner or buyer for various remaining Thomson consumer electronics companies, including A/V equipment and accessories marketing operations.

According to a company spokesman Thomson continues to look for a partner or buyer of those remaining CE units, as Thomson moves away from retail distribution and into more business-to-business oriented activities.

O’Hara will be replaced in is role by another long-time Thomson veteran, Al Arras, who replaces O’Hara as president of the U.S. entity, Thomson Inc. Arras will oversee the Thomson’s U.S. A/V and accessories operations, and will take over the search for a partner or buyer for those businesses, O’Hara said.

Arras had left Thomson briefly to temporarily join TTE, after TCL acquired the rights to a portion of Thomson’s television business. He returned to Thomson after TCL took full control of sales and marketing of TTE.

Thomson plans to keep its telephony segment, which includes GE-brand phones as well as the home networking products included in its accessories offering.