SiriusXM Names Jennifer Witz CEO, Jim Meyer to Become Vice Chair

SiriusXM CEO Jennifer Witz
Courtesy of SiriusXM

SiriusXM CEO Jennifer Witz

The changes become effective as of the end of the year.

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM said Tuesday that CEO James Meyer will step down as CEO on Dec. 31 and become vice chairman.

Jennifer Witz, currently president, sales, marketing and operations, will succeed him as CEO.

The company also said it has hired Sean Sullivan, currently CFO of AMC Networks, as executive vp and CFO, effective Oct. 26, succeeding David Frear who "will be pursuing other opportunities."

At the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference on Tuesday, Meyer said he had given the board "plenty of notice" about his move and said Witz was "ready" and selected after a "rigorous" search internally and externally, adding that he had promoted her numerous times over the years.

Gregory Maffei, chairman of the SiriusXM, said: "On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jim for his outstanding service, helping to create the leader in audio entertainment in North America. During his tenure as CEO, SiriusXM has grown to become a diversified audio entertainment provider that is poised to reach more than 150 million people, the largest addressable digital audio audience in North America. We are a better company for his stewardship."

Witz has been with SiriusXM for over 18 years, previously serving as executive vp and chief marketing officer. She has also held a variety of senior financial and operating roles. Before joining SiriusXM, she was vp of planning and development at Viacom after serving as vp of finance and corporate development at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She began her career in the investment banking department at Kidder, Peabody & Co.

In a memo to staff, Witz wrote: "I will be taking on this role at an important time for SiriusXM. We have the best audio content available anywhere and have exciting growth initiatives underway across our SiriusXM, Pandora, and podcasting platforms. There are tremendous opportunities ahead for our company, and I look forward to working closely with [president and chief content officer] Scott Greenstein, our incoming CFO Sean Sullivan, and my other incredibly talented colleagues on the management team, to capture these opportunities and continue growing this great company of ours."

She also called Meyer "a mentor and a friend," adding that "the two of us will be joined at the hip over the next several months as we work closely to ensure a smooth transition."

And the CEO designate said: "The reason I have loved working at SiriusXM for almost 20 years, is simple: our people and our shared values. We have talented people in our organization who value delivering results, hard work, creativity, innovation, honesty and mutual respect. Through these unprecedented and challenging times, each of you has shown that we are a company made up of remarkable individuals who rise to the occasion. And when such talent comes together with our core values, we win time and time again."

Sullivan will bring "a fresh air" to SiriusXM, "not a hurricane," Meyer told the Goldman conference.

Sullivan will remain with AMC Networks through mid-October, with the company saying it would appoint an interim CFO or a successor prior to his departure. Said AMC Networks president and CEO Josh Sapan: "Sean joined AMC Networks a decade ago as we were preparing to become a separately traded public company. Since that time he has not only been a superb CFO, but a critical member of the executive team and a valued business partner to me. Sean has played a key role in helping to diversify our business and maintain a strong financial profile, and the shows we’ve developed that have delighted fans were made possible in no small part by his financial planning and involvement."