LOS ANGELES - Eddy Hartenstein, a former head of DirecTV, will become publisher of the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reported Saturday. Hartenstein, a pioneering satellite television executive with no newspaper experience, will take over Monday.
His job will be to invigorate a newspaper that has cut back hundreds of jobs as it struggles with plunging circulation and ad revenue in the Internet age.
Hartenstein will be the fourth Times publisher since the newspaper was acquired in 2000 by the Chicago-based Tribune Co. The post has been vacant since David Hiller resigned on July 14, the same day that Tribune began implementing more staff cutbacks.
Hartenstein, 57, said he was approached for the job about a month ago by Tribune chief Sam Zell, who did not demand any more cuts.
"I wanted to know that I would have the ability . . . to call the shots," Hartenstein said Friday.
Zell "basically said 'You're the publisher and CEO. It's yours to run,'" Hartenstein said.
Hartenstein, a Caltech-educated engineer, is considered one of the founding fathers of satellite television. He was working for Hughes Electronics Corp., which was later acquired by General Motors Corp., when he began considering the use of satellites to deliver TV programming.
In the 1990s, he persuaded GM to finance a venture that would become DirecTV Group Inc. He became the company's president and was chairman and CEO from 2001 to 2004.
DirecTV introduced small satellite dishes that could be mounted on practically any roof, wall or balcony, in comparison to the large backyard dishes then in general use by satellite TV subscribers.
Hartenstein went on to serve on the boards of SanDisk Corp., XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc., Broadcom Corp. and the City of Hope hospital in Duarte.
He was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2002 and received an Emmy Award for lifetime achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2007.