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Stern Out at DirecTV

Mitch Stern has exited as president and CEO of DirecTV Inc. after a little over one year in the post.

Stern, whose last day was Monday, has run the operation since December 2003, reporting to Chase Carey, president and CEO of the DirecTV Group, which also includes DirecTV Latin America and Hughes Network Systems.

Stern had been commuting from New York to DirecTV’s Los Angeles base, which was taking a toll on his family. However, he’s not being replaced. A spokesman says only that Stern’s exit is " a mutual decision between Chase and Mitch

Carey will now take over day-to-day operations of the satellite service, with Stern’s former direct reports now reporting to Carey, who called 2004 a "transition year."

Carey told investors in late January that the the company needed to improve its operating performance and margins.  DirecTV grossed a record 1.1 million additional subs in 2004, but operating cash flow took a hit as the company invested heavily in advertising, commissions and subsidies to drive that sub boost.

Fox bought controlling interest in DirecTV and parent Hughes for $6.6 billion in December 2003.

Mitch Stern, former head of the Fox Station group and Twentieth Television, said in a statement that it was "the right time for me to move on."--John Higgins contributed to this report.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.