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Slingbox Boss Michael Hawkey Departs to Join Rovi

Michael Hawkey, who has run EchoStar’s Sling Media division for two years, has left the company to become senior VP and G.M. of Rovi’s media-discovery business group.

As G.M. of Sling Media, Hawkey oversaw product development, marketing and strategy for products including the Slingbox line of TV place-shifting products. He was formerly VP of marketing and sales for EchoStar Technologies’ set-top division and has also held senior positions at ADB Americas and STMicroelectronics.

EchoStar’s Slingbox devices let users stream live or recorded TV from a primary set-top over the Internet. Since EchoStar acquired Sling Media in 2007, the product has enjoyed limited success with consumers and pay-TV operators — failing to gain the same kind of popularity the DVR has for time-shifting TV.

At Rovi, Hawkey will report to exec VP and COO John Burke. He will be based at the company’s HQ in Santa Clara, Calif., overseeing the Rovi Discovery group’s product development, including product lifecycle management, program management and marketing, as well as engineering, architecture and user experience.

“With more than 25 years of industry experience, Michael brings tremendous expertise to Rovi and a solid track record in driving digital entertainment software and solutions across multiple screens and mobile devices worldwide,” said Burke, a former Motorola Mobility and Arris exec who joined Rovi last year to head the company’s product businesses.

Separately, Rovi operates a patent-licensing business leveraging its large intellectual-property holdings. Last month, Netflix won a key victory in ongoing patent-infringement litigation with Rovi, after a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the five Rovi-owned patents at issue in the case were invalid.

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