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Satellite TV Pioneer Eddy Hartenstein To Retire

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, “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.”

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.