Irvin joins XM marketing


XM Satellite Radio, which has beefed up its marketing efforts in its battle for recognition with Sirius Satellite Radio, home of Howard Stern, said Monday that it has hired a wireless entertainment veteran as its chief marketing officer.

Vernon Irvin, who oversaw the Jamba! and Jamster! units of Internet security firm VeriSign, will begin his new role with XM on Nov. 14, the company said.

Irvin was executive vp and general manager of communications services at VeriSign since 2003. As head of the Jamba! unit (Jamster! in English-speaking countries), he helped turn the "Crazy Frog" ringtone into a worldwide sensation.

Last month, VeriSign sold a 51% stake in its Jamba!/Jamster! unit to News Corp. for $188 million. News Corp. said it will combine its new acquisition with its Fox Mobile Entertainment assets.

At XM, Irvin will oversee the subscription radio company's marketing efforts, including service offerings, pricing and subscriber-retention initiatives.

"I've been at the center of cutting edge, rapid-growth businesses, and I know that XM has a great product that can continue to grow significantly," Irvin said.

While XM has a lead over Sirius, 7.2 million subscribers compared with 5.1 million, Sirius has been enjoying more rapid growth and brisker sales at retail outlets thanks to publicity generated by shock-jock Stern. XM has relied on its strong relationships with auto manufacturers to maintain its dominant position.

In his role as chief marketing officer, a recently created position, Irvin will report to president and chief operating officer Nate Davis.