NEW YORK — Eddy Hartenstein, vice chairman of DirecTV and satellite TV pioneer, will retire at the end of the year, a little more than a year after News Corp. took control of the satcaster, the company said Thursday.
Hartenstein had backed away from day-to-day management of the company after the sale of General Motors’ interest in the company to News Corp. in December 2003.
A technologist, Hartenstein is credited with many of the breakthroughs that allowed the satellite-TV industry to provide hundreds of channels to a pizza-sized dish, making it a mass-market product.
“Eddy deserves tremendous credit for the creation and growth of DirecTV as a leader in the television world today,” said News Corp. CEO and DirecTV chairman Rupert Murdoch.
“His leadership of DirecTV from its infancy through the complicated exit of GM has been invaluable,” DirecTV chief exec Chase Carey added.
Since its launch in 1994, DirecTV has grown to more than 13.5 million pay TV customers, second only to cable giant Comcast. One in eight television homes in the U.S. subscribes to DirecTV.
Hartenstein’s career with the company began in 1972, when it was known as Hughes Aircraft Co.