SiriusXM today announced that Chief Executive Officer Jim Meyer intends to retire on December 31, 2020. He had been in the role, initially as interim CEO, since December 2012, when longtime CEO Mel Karmazin stepped down — also after around eight years in the role — after Liberty Media gained control of 49.5% of the company.
Upon his retirement, Jennifer C. Witz, President of Sales, Marketing and Operations, will become the Company’s new CEO. She is the first woman to hold that role at the company.
Gregory Maffei, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. stated, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I want to thank Jim for his outstanding service, helping to create the leader in audio entertainment in North America. During his tenure as CEO, SiriusXM has grown to become a diversified audio entertainment provider that is poised to reach more than 150 million people, the largest addressable digital audio audience in North America. We are a better company for his stewardship. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the Board and to build on SiriusXM’s strong momentum.”
Maffei continued, “Our Board of Directors is thrilled to unanimously appoint Jennifer as the next CEO. With nearly two decades of success at the Company, no one is better suited for this position. Jennifer brings the thorough understanding of our business from every angle. She has played a key role in significantly growing SiriusXM’s subscriber base. Jennifer will lead the Company’s strong executive team as it continues building out its platforms and executes on its growth strategies.”
“It has been a privilege to lead SiriusXM, and I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together over the last eight years,” said Meyer. “This Company has never been in a better position. We have transformed our business, growing SiriusXM and its offerings, welcoming the team from Pandora through our game changing combination and increasing our scale in podcasting with Simplecast and the pending acquisition of Stitcher. Today, we deliver the best content with a consumer reach that is unmatched in audio entertainment in North America. My decision to retire has long been in the works, and now is the right time to begin this transition. I could not be handing the reins over to a stronger leader than Jennifer. I know firsthand how talented and innovative she is, and I believe she will drive SiriusXM to new heights. This is a key time for SiriusXM, and I look forward to working with Jennifer to ensure a smooth transition as we execute on our near-term priorities.”
During an interview Tuesday morning, Meyer, 65, said, “I just feel like slowing down,” and echoed his prepared comments regarding Witz and the transition. He joined SiriusXM in May 2004, after a stint as president of consulting company Aegis Ventures. Over the preceding 25 years, he held senior roles at Thomson, General Electric and RCA.
Witz has been with SiriusXM for over 18 years, serving most recently as president of sales, marketing and operations since March 2019. With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Witz previously held senior roles at Viacom and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She began her career in the Investment Banking Department at Kidder, Peabody & Co Inc.
Witz commented, “I am honored to take on the role of CEO and lead SiriusXM at this exciting time. We have the best audio content available anywhere and incredible growth platforms. At SiriusXM, we are rolling out new programming, introducing new technology and expanding our OEM relationships, while pursuing new avenues of growth at Pandora and strengthening our position in the podcasting space. It has been an extraordinary privilege working with Jim and learning from him over the years. SiriusXM has tremendous opportunities ahead. I look forward to working closely with Scott Greenstein, Sean Sullivan and the rest of our talented management team and our incredible employees to capture those opportunities, drive growth and enhance stockholder value.”
According to the announcement, during Meyer’s tenure as CEO, SiriusXM has:
– Grown subscribers to record levels of 34.3 million, as of June 30, 2020. Following the completion of the pending Stitcher transaction, SiriusXM will reach 150 million listeners across its combined properties;
– Driven revenues to approximately $7.7 billion in 2020 compared to $3.4 billion in 2012;
– Returned more than $10 billion of capital to stockholders;
– Completed the acquisition of Pandora;
– Built scale in the podcast area with the acquisition of Simplecast and the pending acquisition of Stitcher.
However, the contract of star radio personality Howard Stern expires at the end of the year; negotiations have continued for several months, with Meyer saying as recently as last week that he is “optimistic” about the outcome.
The Company also announced today that Sean S. Sullivan has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective October 26, 2020. Sullivan succeeds David J. Frear. who has held the role since 2003 and will be pursuing other opportunities, effective immediately.
Meyer said, “Sean brings two-plus decades of financial and operating experience, strong leadership abilities and an in-depth understanding of the entertainment industry. We are thrilled he is joining the team. I want to thank David for his many years of dedication to the Company and excellent contributions to SiriusXM.”
Following his retirement, Meyer will remain on SiriusXM’s Board of Directors and will serve as Vice Chairman. Upon assuming the role of CEO, Ms. Witz will be appointed as a member of the Board. George W. Bodenheimer also announced today his decision to resign from the Board, effective immediately.
Maffei concluded, “On behalf of the Board and management team, we thank George for his leadership and guidance, and I am grateful for the time we spent together on the Board. Although we will miss George, our loss will be a great gain for the charitable organizations George plans to focus his talents on.”