Advanced Television

DISH Network lays off 500; Akhavan now CEO

November 13, 2023

By Chris Forrester

Denver-based DISH Network, reeling from a shrinking subscriber base and a collapsing share price, has announced that more than 500 staff are being laid off.

“Like most businesses, we continually evaluate and make adjustments to ensure we’re set up for long-term success,” DISH said in a statement. “We made the difficult decision to part ways with some team members due to changing business demands on some teams. Impacted employees will be notified by the end of the [last] week.”

Last week DISH reported its Q3 financial results that analysts at MoffettNathanson described as “shockingly bad” even for a long-time sceptic. DISH lost about 225,000 retail wireless subscribers in Q3 on top of prior quarterly losses, closing the quarter-year with 7.5 million wireless subscribers.

After its Q3 analysts call, shares of DISH tumbled 37.4 per cent, closing at a 25-year low. Over the past year, Dish shares have lost about 75 per cent of their value.

MoffettNathanson still has doubts as they stated in a note to clients, saying: “DISH has no money. They have more spectrum than they know what to do with. Among their many problems – their Boost prepaid business is floundering; their Boost postpaid launch is stillborn; their satellite TV business is in free fall; their streaming video service is imploding; free cash flow is already negative and is falling fast – there is no one, and we mean no one, who thinks that more low-band spectrum is the answer. To ANY question.”

DISH Network is in the process of merging with EchoStar which is likely to wrap by the end of this year.

Not helping confidence is that Dish’s president and CEO Erik Carlson, which the company said would be departing when the EchoStar merger was completed, in fact said he would be leaving imminently. He will step down effective November 13th.

Meanwhile, DISH Network has announced Hamid Akhavan has joined DISH as president and chief executive officer (CEO), in addition to his current role as CEO and president of EchoStar. Akhavan will oversee all aspects of the company’s video services and wireless businesses, as well as its subsidiaries.

When the merger between DISH and EchoStar was announced, it was also announced that Akhavan would become CEO of the combined company. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed by year-end.

“Hamid brings a unique set of skills to DISH, building off his experience in the technology, telecom, private equity and investment sectors,” said Charlie Ergen, co-founder and chairman, DISH Network. “An engineer by background, he’s financially astute and a seasoned manager. He currently serves EchoStar, DISH’s sister company, as CEO and will lead both companies in order to hit the ground running, once the merger with EchoStar is complete.”

Before joining DISH and EchoStar, Akhavan was most recently a partner at Twin Point Capital, an investment firm, and a founding partner of Long Arc Capital. He held a variety of executive leadership positions including CEO of Unify (formerly Siemens Enterprise Communications), Chief Operating Officer at Deutsche Telekom and CEO of T-Mobile International, where he also served as a member of the Board of Management of Deutsche Telekom.

“There is tremendous opportunity at DISH, and even more so once it’s combined with EchoStar,” said Akhavan. “This appointment will enable me and the teams to get a headstart in preparing to run the combined business of the companies.”

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