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XM Satellite Radio CEO, co-founder steps down

July 25, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Hugh Panero, one of the founders of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., is departing as chief executive of the company, a title he would have lost anyway if XM's proposed combination with rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. goes through.

Panero's duties will be assumed on an interim basis by Nate Davis, who had been in the role of president and chief operating officer since July 2006. Davis, a former telecommunications executive, has served on the board of XM since 1999.

XM and Sirius announced a plan to combine their companies in February, but the proposed deal still faces significant regulatory hurdles because they are the only two U.S. operators of satellite radio services. Each one costs about $13 per month and requires a special receiver.

The two companies announced pricing plans Monday that would allow customers greater flexibility in choosing the channels they receive.

Mel Karmazin, the CEO of Sirius and a former chief operating officer of Viacom Inc., would run the combined company if the deal goes through. XM's chairman, Gary Parsons, would continue in that role.

The news about Panero was released after the close of regular trading, where shares of Washington-based XM fell 65 cents, or 5.2%, to $11.90.

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