Eddy W. Hartenstein, publisher of the Los Angeles Times since August 2008, has been named the non-executive chairman of Sirius XM Radio. He succeeds chairman Gary Parsons, who was also the founder and chairman of XM Satellite Radio before it merged with Sirius last year.
Hartenstein will remain publisher of the L.A. Times, and in this new role he takes leadership of a company that has had major problems gaining subscribers in a suffering economy and nearly filed for bankruptcy this year. It has found some help in the ?cash for clunkers? program, since many of the 700,000 new cars that were sold came with trial subscriptions to the satellite radio service. However, it announced last week that it had posted a quarterly loss of $149.2 million.
“This has been a tough 18 months for the economy, but it will recover, and Sirius XM is well-positioned for growth,” Hartenstein told the Times.
Since 2008, Hartenstein has been a director of Sirius XM, and was a director of XM Radio from 2005 until its merger with Sirius. Prior to joining the newspaper, the Caltech alum worked for General Motors until 2004, where he persuaded GM’s leadership to finance DirecTV Group Inc. in the early 1990s, a company that would go on to revolutionize the satellite TV industry.
Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin told the L.A. Times that Hartenstein, as an independent director, “will bring an important new perspective to the chairmanship,” one that “our stockholders will benefit from.”