Charlie Ergen Steps Down as Dish CEO to Focus on Wireless, Will Remain Chairman

Charlie Ergen - H 2015
AP Images

Charlie Ergen - H 2015

Erik Carlson has been promoted to president and CEO at the satellite TV giant.

Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen has stepped down, making way for Erik Carlson to be promoted to president and CEO.

Carlson, most recently president and COO, will continue to report to Ergen, who now will focus on his emerging wireless business amid growing convergence and a battle between pay TV and phone companies for on-the-go consumers. Ergen, who co-founded Englewood, Co.-based Dish Network in 1980, will retain his post as chairman.

The management reshuffle, unveiled Tuesday, includes Brian Neylon being named group president of Dish TV and Warren Schlichting named group president, Sling TV. And executive vp John Swieringa has been tapped to succeed Carlson as COO, while Walmart veteran David Scott has been named chief human resources officer.

"With more than 20 years' experience at Dish, Erik brings a complete understanding of the business opportunities both Dish TV and Sling TV possess," said Ergen, whose personal net worth is estimated at just over $10 billion, in a statement.

Ergen's focus on wireless comes as Sling TV and new rivals, like PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, are moving beyond targeting cord cutters and cord nevers to becoming alternatives to traditional cable and satellite TV packages. Dish spent $6.2 billion on wireless spectrum during an FCC auction earlier this year.

That move was seen as a prelude to Dish offering its own wireless service as mobile giants like AT&T, with its $85 billion merger with Time Warner that awaits regulatory approval, and Verizon make their own plays to becoming entertainment companies.

And Comcast has unveiled its own mobile offering packaged with TV and home Internet services for subscribers who are already Internet customers.