**VOTE** Should Mel be replaced as CEO
Should Mel be replaced as CEO:
I wanted to see how everyone stands, because it has become abundantly clear there are a lot of problems at SIRIUS XM right now, and the main thing is leadership, decision making, Mel Karmazin
Mel Karmazin = Bad Karma for SIRIUS
From an Old Business Week article
Karmazin worked for three years hawking ads at WCBS, leaving in 1970 when his bosses tried to scale back the $70,000 he was earning with commissions. Spending the next 11 years at John Kluge's WNEW, he rose to manage the lucrative AM and FM outlets and set a pattern of paying big bucks for popular on-air talent while maniacally watching operating costs. After his request to manage one of Metromedia's (MMG) TV properties was rejected, Karmazin again considered his options.
Two former Metromedia executives, Michael A. Wiener and Gerald Carrus, had founded Infinity, hoping to emulate Kluge's strategy of buying ''oceanfront'' radio stations in big markets. They needed someone to run them and offered to match Karmazin's salary of $125,000, plus give him 1% of the equity up front. A key clause in his contract: Infinity would provide him with a red Mercedes. The staunchly patriotic Kluge had always refused to buy Karmazin anything but a Cadillac.
STERN DEAL. At Infinity, Karmazin wowed Wall Street with his shrewd buying and operating skills, swelling the company from 6 stations in 1981 to 44 in 1996. When NBC fired ''shock jock'' Howard Stern in 1985, Karmazin gave him a national platform at Infinity, as he had for talk-radio star Don Imus. (Karmazin's only condition was that, for a time, both stars' contracts barred them from saying his name on the air. In return, he defended Stern against charges from the Federal Communications Commission that he was violating decency laws, ultimately agreeing to a $1.7 million settlement.)
With the help of Farid Suleman, a savvy numbers man he hired in 1986 and who is now CBS's treasurer, Karmazin took Infinity public, then private, then public again in 1992--each time at great profit. Shares issued in 1992 for $17.50 apiece were worth $170 when Infinity was acquired by CBS for stock. During this period, Karmazin, who had raised his two children in the modest suburb of North Brunswick, N.J., divorced and moved into a Manhattan apartment. Despite his financial success, a red Mercedes--he still drives one--is one of Karmazin's few indulgences. He says he made more money than he'll ever need on Metromedia stock options in the 1970s. ''He's very frugal about business and even in his own social life,'' says Kluge. Though Karmazin's stake in CBS is now worth close to $400 million, says Kluge, ''he acts like it's $40,000.''
COST SLASHER. With the relaxation of radio-ownership laws in 1996, Karmazin was keen to buy CBS's stations. When Jordan said no, Karmazin offered to sell Infinity to CBS.
The catch: Karmazin would run the radio group. In December, 1996, CBS paid $4.9 billion in stock for Infinity, adding him to the board and making him the largest individual shareholder. Within four months at CBS, Karmazin persuaded Jordan to give him responsibility for the TV stations--signaling to those who knew Karmazin that he would not stop there.
Karmazin quickly exercised the tightfistedness he had learned from Kluge. The station manager at Philadelphia's KYW-TV was queried by Karmazin on why his station needed three subscriptions to Electronic Media magazine and five to Broadcasting and Cable. Another time, he sent an expense form back to a major market radio manager circling a $20 expense with a note: ''Don't you have anything better to do than take an intern to lunch?'' Employees at CBS's New York broadcast center refer to the boss as ''Mad Mel'' and gripe about his just-announced replacement of the company pension plan for new employees with a stock-option scheme. If anything, Karmazin is an equal-opportunity slasher: Gone are CBS's two private jets and Black Rock's kitchen staff. In fact, he's now studying selling Black Rock, too, though CBS would remain a tenant.
As a manager, Karmazin skips pleasantries but rewards top execs' performance with lavish stock options. ''His leadership style is blunt as a punch in the nose,'' says CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather. ''Direct, but mixed with an ability to listen.'' The style does not endear him to all. ''He loves confrontation,'' says one former insider. ''Basically, somebody stole a toy from Mel Karmazin when he was 10. And he has this chip on his shoulder that he has to prove to everybody he is smarter, brighter, faster, quicker.''
One thing Jordan and Karmazin did agree on was the importance of getting the NFL back.