Because Mr. Davis has been on XM's board since 1999, his appointment doesn't lead analysts to expect major shifts in the company's strategy. At the end of second quarter, XM's 6.89 million subscribers lead competitor Sirius' 4.68 million, although Sirius has been gaining on XM.
Mr. Davis comes to XM from venture capital firm Columbia Capital but has a long history in the telecom industry, having worked at XO Communications, Nextel and MCI. CEO Hugh Panero outlined the new position, saying Mr. Davis will be responsible for XM's day-to-day operations as well as marketing, finance, customer care, information technology and human resources. Mr. Panero keeps programming, advertising sales, business and legal affairs and corporate communications under his purview.
Also this week XM announced it reached a five-year agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for all public performance of copyrighted music in the ASCAP's 7 million song catalog. Analysts considered the agreement a positive for the satellite radio industry because the deal didn't include a rate increase. XM's ASCAP agreement was set to expire at the end of the year.
XM has struggled with a stock price that fell over the past year from $36.36 to $10.84. Its stock fell 20 cents yesterday after news of the newly created management position.