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Sky taps Exxon’s Diego as new CEO

Exec to o'see satcaster's DTH Latam operations

MIAMI — Satcaster Sky Multi-Country Partners has tapped Vicente Diego as its new CEO, ending a six-month search.

Diego fills the spot left vacant by Mark Goldman, who left Sky at the end of July, 1999, when his two-year contract expired. CFO David Torkington has been acting CEO, but will return to his financial role exclusively.

Diego joins Sky from Exxon International, where he held various positions in Latin America and Europe over the past 19 years. Most recently he was retail exec, Europe, acting as the shareholders’ rep for a portfolio of 10,000 retail stores in 20 countries in Europe and North Africa.

Rival satcaster Galaxy Latam also went outside the TV biz for its prexy post, recently hiring AT&T exec George Foyo.

Diego admits he needs to learn the TV and programming biz, but maintains his retail background and managerial experience will benefit Sky.

“At the end of the day this business is measured by the number of subscribers,” he told Daily Variety. “It’s about bringing the service to consumers profitably.”

As CEO of Sky Multi-Country Partners, he is now responsible for Sky’s DTH Latam operations throughout the entire region except for Brazil and Mexico, where the local platforms are managed and majority-owned by Globo and Televisa, respectively. Sky Multi-Country’s backers are News Corp. and TCI Intl., in addition to Televisa and Globo.

At the end of Sept., 1999, Sky had roughly 850,000 subs in Latin America. Brazil and Mexico are its biggest markets — it had 408,000 subs in Brazil, claiming 57% market share, and 379,000 subs in Mexico, with 75%.

The Chilean subsid and Colombian joint venture add another 60,000 subs.

Right now, Diego is focused on Sky’s long-delayed Argentine launch. On Jan. 7, an Argentine Federal Court lifted the suspension of its operating license, freeing Sky to move ahead.

Rival satcaster Galaxy Latam has had the Argentine market to itself since July, 1998, and has only 120,000 subs.

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