XM’s (XMSR) CEO Takes A Powder

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Longtime XM (XMSR) CEO Hugh Panero is leaving. He said he would go when the merger with Sirius (SIRI) is complete. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin is scheduled to run the combined company.

Speculation around his departure says that he is leaving because the deal is more likely to be approved than it was several weeks ago. But, there is no solid evidence that this is true.

But, it is more likely that he is on his way because satellite radio in general and XM in specific have been a financial failure and the future of the company is hardly guaranteed even in the event that the merger is approved by the government.

XM is still saddled with over $1 billion in debt and has never shown positive earnings. Subscriber growth has slowed and Sirius has been catching up to it larger rival.

Perhaps most damning is the price of XM’s shares. Over the last two years, the stock price of the company has fallen well over 60%.

Now, that’s a good reason to leave.

Douglas A. McIntyre