EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Mar 17, 2005 -- DIRECTV, Inc. today announced the appointment of Fox Sports Chairman and CEO David Hill as president of its new DIRECTV Entertainment group, one of three new operating groups created by DIRECTV President and CEO Chase Carey as part of a new, more streamlined organization that will focus on DIRECTV's core businesses and continue to build on its leadership position in the pay television industry.
As part of the new organizational structure DIRECTV has also appointed John Suranyi as president of DIRECTV Sales and Service, and Bruce Churchill as president of DIRECTV Latin America and New Enterprises. Suranyi was previously executive vice president of Customer Satisfaction, and Churchill was previously chief financial officer for The DIRECTV Group and president of DIRECTV Latin America.
Mike Palkovic, CFO for DIRECTV, Inc., will now assume CFO responsibilities for the entire DIRECTV organization. Hill, Suranyi, Churchill and Palkovic will report to Carey.
As president of DIRECTV Entertainment, Hill will be responsible for all aspects of DIRECTV that define the content and consumer viewing experience. He will have oversight of programming -- including third-party programming and original content -- the development of programming packages and the marketing and promotion of DIRECTV to consumers. He will also be responsible for the integration of new technologies and the development of new forms of programming services that will enhance the DIRECTV viewing experience, including electronic program guides, interactivity and other content enhancements. In addition, Hill will also develop and expand DIRECTV's rapidly-growing advertising sales, as well as other new revenue opportunities.
Hill will continue to serve as chairman of Fox Sports in a non-executive role. He will be an employee of DIRECTV and his primary responsibility will be at DIRECTV, and at Fox Sports he will have an advisory role providing guidance to Fox Sports on key issues. This role will enhance his ability to advance the integration of Fox content into DIRECTV.
"David is a true innovator and an enormously talented executive who has distinguished himself with his creativity and originality in the television industry," said Carey. "His proven capabilities, vision and experience, which transcends sports television, will be vital in taking DIRECTV to the next level. In his 10-year plus career at Fox, he led Fox Sports from its inception to become the premier sports television organization in the country. His leadership skills, passion and energy will be an enormous asset to DIRECTV as we develop a true leadership position in the consumer pay TV business."
Hill has a long and distinguished career in the television industry. Prior to overseeing Fox Sports, Hill was responsible for oversight of the Fox television network. In addition, he spent more than five years at British Sky Broadcasting, playing a leading role in the development, launch and expansion of BSkyB.
"DIRECTV is the leader in pay television, a great success story and has dramatically changed the way consumers experience TV," said Hill. "I'm particularly excited to be joining this dynamic company as it is poised to deliver a compelling array of next-generation content and services that will make the nation's best television experience even better. Our goal is to distinguish DIRECTV from other pay TV services and bring DIRECTV to a new standard of performance based on the creative excellence and innovation that has long been its cornerstone. Obviously I won't be as involved with Fox Sports as I have been, but I have total confidence in Ed Goren at Fox Sports and Bob Thompson at FSN to continue moving Fox Sports forward."
As head of DIRECTV Sales and Service, Suranyi will oversee primary contacts with customers from the initial point of sale through the life of the customer's programming service. He will continue to oversee operations relating to call center, supply chain and installation services. Suranyi joined DIRECTV in early 2004 after several years building the customer service organizations for a variety of pay television companies.
"John has unique expertise in managing the critical customer service operations that are required to support the DIRECTV experience," said Carey. "He has shown a keen understanding of what it takes to create excellence in customer service and will be a valuable asset in his new position."
As president of DIRECTV Latin America and New Enterprises, Churchill will continue to oversee operations in Latin America and take on a new role in leading new business initiatives that include DIRECTV's broadband strategy, both in the United States and Latin America. Churchill's responsibilities as DIRECTV Group CFO and head of Latin America operations had been expected to evolve as part of the streamlining of the operations to focus on DIRECTV's core business in the United States and Latin America.
"Bruce has been a tremendous resource for DIRECTV over the past year with his willingness to take on dual responsibilities," said Carey. "He now has an opportunity to follow his interests and focus more on operational responsibilities with Latin America evolving through the merger process and with broadband picking up steam. These are important operations for DIRECTV and it's the right time to focus and capitalize on these businesses."
Palkovic became DIRECTV's CFO in 2001. "With his experience as DIRECTV CFO, Mike has unique financial expertise and understanding for the business that will be invaluable to us in the new organization structure," Carey said.
In addressing the importance of this reorganization, Carey said, "We believe the new organization provides us with a more effective group of core operating entities. Through this restructuring we've streamlined and simplified the organization and now have the ability to be better focused and more flexible in operating our core businesses while pursuing new initiatives with more speed and agility."
DIRECTV, Inc. is the nation's leading and fastest-growing digital multichannel television service provider with more than 13.9 million customers. DIRECTV and the Cyclone Design logo are registered trademarks of DIRECTV, Inc. DIRECTV (NYSE:DTV) is a world-leading provider of digital multichannel television entertainment services. DIRECTV is 34 percent owned by Fox Entertainment Group, which is approximately 82 percent owned by News Corporation.
SOURCE: DIRECTV, Inc.
DIRECTV, Inc. Bob Marsocci, 310-726-4656 Robert Mercer, 310-726-4683