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2 Top Execs of Satellite Maker Quit

Resignations come five months after Boeing's acquisition of unit from Hughes Electronics.

March 08, 2001|PETER PAE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two top executives at El Segundo-based Boeing Satellite Systems resigned Wednesday in the first major shake-up since Boeing Co. acquired the commercial satellite maker five months ago.

The Seattle-based aerospace company said Tig H. Krekel, president of the unit, and Joseph H. DeSarla, executive vice president, announced their intention to leave the company to "pursue other opportunities."

The company provided no further explanation for the resignations. Boeing has tended to install its own managers after acquisitions. Boeing acquired the former Hughes Space & Communications Co. from Hughes Electronics Corp. for $3.75 billion in October and renamed the business Boeing Satellite Systems.

The announcement was made during a meeting--which neither Krekel nor DeSarla attended--of Boeing executives at the Beverly Hills Hilton, a company spokeswoman said. Both Krekel and DeSarla have agreed to provide advisory assistance during the transition, she added.

Randy Brinkley, senior vice president of programs for Boeing Satellite Systems, was appointed acting president as the company begins the search for a permanent replacement. Brinkley was the program director for the space station at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration until several years ago.

"Boeing Satellite Systems has prospered under the management and leadership of Tig and Joe, and we wish both of them much continued success in the future," said James Albaugh, president of Boeing Space & Communications Group.

Neither Krekel or DeSarla could be reached for comment.

The move comes after one of the best years for the satellite unit, which had record deliveries last year and garnered a contract worth up to $1.3 billion to provide communications satellites for the Air Force.

Krekel, 47, was appointed president in January 1999 after a stint as president of AlliedSignal Inc.'s aerospace equipment business in Torrance.

Under his direction the satellite maker had reversed several years of disappointing earnings and ended 2000 with a backlog of 34 satellites valued at $6 billion.

DeSarla, 55, was the unit's No. 2 executive and had been named to the post just before the business was acquired by Boeing. He had worked under Krekel at the AlliedSignal unit.

Boeing Satellite Systems, which employs more than 8,000 workers in El Segundo, is the world's largest maker of commercial satellites.

It has built 40% of the satellites in orbit.

* USA Networks Inc., the New York-based media company controlled by Barry Diller, named former Fox executive Doug Herzog president of its flagship USA Network, the nation's top-rated cable channel.

A programming executive, Herzog is credited with putting "South Park," one of the highest-rated cable series in history, on Comedy Central while its president, and with championing "Malcolm in the Middle" while president of entertainment at Fox TV.

At USA in Los Angeles, Herzog will report to Stephen Chao, president of the company's cable group, which includes USA, the Sci-Fi Channel and several soon-to-be-announced digital networks.

Rob Sorcher, who was general manager of USA for six months, left by "mutual consent," Chao said.

Herzog's appointment follows a difficult three-year period for USA under Diller's ownership, which was marked by costly flops in original programming and the loss of World Wrestling Federation matches to Viacom last fall.

"Original programming, that's where the network needs the most improvement," said Herzog, who acknowledged a certain comfort in returning to cable after trying his hand at what he called the "brutal" network business. "I had a tough time getting my arms around it early on. I think I like cable better." (Sallie Hofmeister)

* Longtime political communications specialist Leslie Goodman has been named senior vice president of strategic communications for Walt Disney Co.'s parks and resorts division. She will be responsible for directing the communications strategy for Disney's theme park business. She will report to division Chairman Paul Pressler.

Goodman was founder and president of Sacramento consulting firm Strategic Communications Services Inc., and recently served as communications director for the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

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