Jim Meyer, Sirius XM’s president of operations and sales, is a leading contender to replace Mel Karmazin as CEO after he steps down in February, according to a Reuters/Chicago Tribune story. Karmazin’s decision aligned with Liberty’s gaining a controlling interest in Sirius XM through a gradual increase in its ownership stake over the past year.
Meyer, who arrived at Sirius XM the same year as Karmazin, in 2004, oversees the company’s auto industry relationships, which account for the bulk of its revenue via subscriptions. He has a strong relationship with Eddy Hartenstein–Sirius XM’s non-executive chairman, who’s on the search committee with Greg Maffei, CEO of Sirius XM’s majority shareholder, Liberty Media, along with board member James Mooney. Maffei said on Liberty’s most recent earnings call that the CEO search could take up to six months.
“At a company as complex as Sirius, with the satellites, media and automotive parts, gluing it all together is Jim,” a source who used to work at SIRI told Reuters. “He is the No. 2 and worked with him closely.”
However, other sources told Reuters Meyer is just one of a number of candidates Liberty is considering. Sirius XM’s CFO, David Frear, could also be looked at for the top job. He’s been with the company since 2003.
Another name that has been mentioned is Hugh Panero, the former CEO of XM Satellite Radio who left after the merger with Sirius was announced. Panero, who once worked for a pay TV network that was partly controlled by Liberty Media in the 1990s, has been out of the satellite biz since leaving XM Radio. He’s currently the CEO of PopDust, a music content website.