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Dish Wireless executive Michael Kelly to leave company

Michael Kelly. (Courtesy photo)
Michael Kelly. (Courtesy photo)

Dish Network’s emerging wireless division is losing another top executive.

Michael Kelly, the Executive Vice President of Dish Wireless, will step away from the role at the end of February, a Dish Network spokesperson confirmed this week.

“We appreciate his hard work and commitment to our business,” the spokesperson said. “While we conduct a search for his successor, Hamid Akhavan, the President and CEO of EchoStar, will lead strategy and key day-to-day operations for the retail wireless brands.”

Kelly first joined Dish and Echostar in 2000 — prior to its split and eventual reunification — when Echostar purchased his Kelly Broadcasting Systems (KBS). The acquisition was intended to bolster Dish’s international programming distribution; at the time, KBS offered live channels from Greece, India, Brazil and several Middle Eastern countries.

For 15 years, Kelly served as an Echostar — and, later Dish — executive in various roles, to include overseeing the company’s acquisition of video rental giant Blockbuster. He left Dish in 2020 to become the full-time CEO of a Denver-based technology company.

Kelly returned to Dish last year, becoming the company’s top executive in charge of Dish Wireless’ retail sales and marketing efforts. On a social media profile, Kelly wrote that his responsibilities transcended the wireless division: “I also work in close coordination with Dish’s other consumer-facing brands to help them align and maximize opportunities across them,” he said.

It wasn’t clear what Kelly intends to do following his resignation later this month.

Kelly is the latest high-profile Dish Wireless executive to leave the company in the past 14 months.

In January 2023, Dish Chief Commercial Officer Stephen Bye left the company after accepting a job with Ziff Davis. At Dish, Bye was tasked with exploring ways for the company to profit from its 5G wireless spectrum, some of which it acquired through the purchase of Sprint’s prepaid brand Boost Mobile several years ago.

Several months after Bye left the company, Dish Wireless’ network development lead Dave Mayo was moved from that position into a senior advisor role. Mayo’s job was absorbed into the chief technology officer role, which was filled by Eben Albertyn last July.

Last November, Dish Wireless Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Sipling left the company following the appointment of Dish Network CEO Hamid Akhavan, who now serves as CEO of Echostar. In a statement, a Dish spokesperson said Sipling “has left the business to pursue new ventures,” though a social media profile attributed to Siplin showed he stayed on at Dish in a senior advisory role after stepping down as CMO last year.

Dish Wireless currently has around 7.5 million customers, or around 3.2 percent of the 240 million Americans who are within reach of the service. The figure was disclosed in Dish’s quarterly earnings report last November, before the company reunited with Echostar. Neither Echostar nor Dish have provided public guidance on when the next update will come, though it is expected sometime later this month or early next month.

In January, Dish announced it was laying off around 160 workers, with most of the pink slips impacting employees in its wireless division, including 80 senior-level workers and two dozen customer service representatives.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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