Big leadership changes are afoot at SiriusXM.
The company announced on Tuesday that CEO Jim Meyer will retire at the end of the year and transition to vice chairman of the SiriusXM board of directors. Replacing Meyer in the top spot will be Jennifer Witz, currently president, sales, marketing and operations.
Meyer indicated that his decision to step aside has been “long in the works” and that now with the company in a strong position, it felt like the right time to transition.
Meyer took over as interim CEO of the company in December 2012 before making it permanent the following April. Looking back on his tenure, Meyer touted the company’s advances toward diversifying beyond in-vehicle listening, its merger with Pandora and its head-first dive into podcasting, adding Simplecast and a pending Stitcher acquisition.
“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,” Gregory B. Maffei, chairman of the board of directors of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. “We are a better company for his stewardship. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the Board and to build on SiriusXM’s strong momentum.”
In a staff memo shared with Billboard, Meyer wrote, “Jennifer has the talent, experience and the thorough understanding of every aspect of our business needed to lead our next phase as we continue to evolve and build out our platforms. It has been a privilege to see her career progress over the years at SiriusXM. She has played a key role in significantly growing SiriusXM’s subscriber base and delivering the Company’s financial results.”
Witz is an 18-year veteran at SiriusXM and prior to her current role served as executive vp and chief marketing officer from August 2017 until March 2019. She previously served as senior vp of finance and, before that, vp of finance. Before joining SiriusXM, Witz held executive positions at Viacom and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
“Jennifer brings the thorough understanding of our business from every angle,” said Maffei in his announcement. “She has played a key role in significantly growing SiriusXM’s subscriber base. Jennifer will lead the Company’s strong executive team as it continues building out its platforms and executes on its growth strategies.”
The company also announced that Sean Sullivan will succeed David Frear as executive vp and CFO. While Sullivan begins his new role on Oct. 26, Frear’s departure is effective immediately in order to pursue other opportunities. Sullivan arrives from AMC Networks, where he has served as evp and CFO since June 2011.
“Sean brings two-plus decades of financial and operating experience, strong leadership abilities and an in-depth understanding of the entertainment industry,” Meyer said. “We are thrilled he is joining the team. I want to thank David for his many years of dedication to the Company and excellent contributions to SiriusXM.”
In its announcement, the company noted that Witz will also be joining Meyer on the board of directors, while George Bodenheimer has decided to resign immediately.
In her own memo to staff, Witz thanked Meyer for his mentorship and wrote that she was taking over as CEO at an important time for the company, with “exciting growth initiatives underway across our SiriusXM, Pandora, and podcasting platforms.”
She added, “The reason I have loved working at SiriusXM for almost twenty 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. I know that you will continue to be the cornerstone of our future success as we continue to deliver the best content and grow our vast audience of listeners.”