CEO ankles as Sirius delays sat radio bow

Co. to look for entertainment industry-oriented exec, sources say

Sirius Satellite Radio chief executive David Margolese is calling it a day after nearly a decade at the helm, and the company said it will delay the launch of its service past the original year-end deadline.

Margolese, considered one of the originators of the satellite-radio concept, will remain non-executive chairman of the board at Sirius and will continue to have a hand in development of the company’s 100-channel digital radio service.

All day-to-day operations will be handled by senior VP-financial chief John J. Scelfo and senior VP-general counsel Patrick L. Donnelly until a permanent successor can be found.

Sources close to the situation said the company will look for a more entertainment industry-oriented exec, now that the technical development phase of the service is wrapping up and Sirius must find a way to battle entrenched radio players such as Clear Channel (ironically, a Sirius investor) and Infinity Broadcasting.

No flight until spring

Sirius, which has deals to install satellite-capable radios in Ford, BMW and DaimlerChrysler vehicles, expected to launch by the end of this year, but probably will wait until next spring, industry sources said. Company will address the issue in a conference call Nov. 14.

Chief rival XM Satellite Radio put off its planned Sept. 12 launch by two months in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

Sirius shares edged up 1.7% to $3.50 on the Nasdaq Tuesday, after falling as low as $3.02 during the day. The company’s stock has tumbled almost 95% over the last year. Meanwhile, XM stock jumped 28% to finish at $8.98.

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