* EchoStar board member to become Dish CEO
* Gives Ergen more time to focus on strategy - analyst
* Shares rise 2.5 pct (Adds share move)
By Liana B. Baker and Rachana Khanzode
NEW YORK, May 16 (Reuters) - Satellite television provider Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) named Joseph Clayton as chief executive, succeeding founder Charlie Ergen, who will continue as chairman.
With Clayton overseeing day-to-day operations, Ergen will have time to shape Dish’s strategy, which appears to be changing in light of recent deals, said Kaufman Bros analyst Todd Mitchell.
“Ergen is looking to transform Dish with its acquisitions,” Mitchell said.
“Clayton is a good pick,” he added, because of his experience as CEO and later chairman of Sirius XM radio, another company with a subscription-based business model. Clayton has also worked closely with Ergen since 2008 as a board member of EchoStar Corp (SATS.O), Dish’s sister company, where Ergen is also chairman.
Ergen, a billionaire, is still the largest shareholder of Dish and “there’s no question that Dish is still his baby,” Mitchell said.
Ergen has spearheaded a spate of acquisitions this year that could transform Dish into a major provider of on-demand video, analysts said. [ID:nL3E7F6164]
Last month, Dish won Blockbuster Inc BLOAQ.PK in a bankruptcy auction for $320 million. Earlier this year, Dish said it would expand its broadband spectrum by acquiring DBSD North American, while EchoStar said it would buy Hughes Communication, a satellite communications company.
Ergen has been vague about his plans for the newly acquired companies and offered few details to analysts on a conference call last quarter. Dish beat Wall Street’s expectations last quarter by adding subscribers and doubling its profit. The company has 14.1 million subscribers.
Clayton will join Dish’s board on June 20.
Clayton, 61, was CEO of Sirius XM Radio (SIRI.O) from 2001 to 2004, then served five years as Sirius’ chairman until 2008.
Dish’s shares rose 2.5 percent to $29.53 in early Nasdaq trading. (Editing by John Wallace and Maureen Bavdek)