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Dish Founder Charlie Ergen Stepping Back in as CEO

Charlie Ergen, the brash entrepreneurial founder of Dish Network, will take over as CEO of the satcaster following the retirement of president and CEO Joe Clayton in March.

Dish announced Monday that Clayton, who has been its chief exec since June 2011, will retire from his position effective March 31, 2015, and will also depart Dish’s board.

“Over the last four years, Joe’s leadership has been instrumental to Dish as we have worked to engineer a fundamental transformation of our business,” Ergen said in a statement. “He has set the stage for what will become a new company, and with that he has prepared a new class of management to address the adventures coming our way.”

Also Monday, Dish announced financial results for the fourth quarter of 2014. For the full-year 2014, the satcaster reported total revenue of $14.6 billion, up 5.3% from the year earlier, while net income rose 17% to $945 million.

In Q4 2014, Dish lost a 63,000 net video subscribers to end the year with 13.978 million U.S. TV subs. Its total subscriber base dropped by 79,000 for the full year. In the fourth quarter, Dish’s contract fight with Turner Broadcasting resulted in subs losing CNN and seven other networks for about a month.

Following Clayton’s departure, Ergen’s direct reports will include: executive VP and COO Bernie Han; EVP and general counsel Stanton Dodge; EVP and chief HR officer Mike McClaskey; EVP/head of corporate development Tom Cullen; and Roger Lynch, CEO of Dish’s recently formed Sling TV over-the-top division.

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