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DFW Tecs

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Nov 19, 2003
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I see that A lot of the old school at DTV are now looking for A job.
Roxanne Austin, president and chief operating officer of DIRECTV, Inc., and executive vice president of Hughes Electronics Corporation, today announced that she has elected to leave the Company upon completion of The News Corporation’s acquisition of 34 percent of HUGHES common stock. DIRECTV is a unit of HUGHES.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished at DIRECTV in the past two years,” said Austin. “Serving as DIRECTV’s president and COO has been tremendously rewarding. I care deeply about DIRECTV and its future success, but with this imminent transition I am taking the opportunity to pursue my long-term career goals and move on to new endeavors.”

Austin was named DIRECTV president and COO in June 2001. Under Austin’s leadership, DIRECTV has made material financial and operational improvements.

* DIRECTV’s revenue has increased 37 percent from $5.5 billion in 2001 to a projected $7.6 billion in 2003.
* From the third quarter of 2001 through the third quarter of 2003, DIRECTV subscriber growth has increased by 34 percent, as it has added more than 2.6 million net new customers.
* DIRECTV’s customer churn has been reduced from a monthly rate of 1.8 percent in 2001 to an industry-leading current level of 1.5 percent, a 17 percent improvement.
* Operating profit before depreciation and amortization increased by approximately $780 million or over 360 percent from 2001 to 2003.
* Net income has increased $378 million from a loss of $178 million in 2001 to a projected profit of $200 million in 2003.
* Annual cash flow improved from a negative $403 million in 2001 to a projected positive $400 million in 2003.
* DIRECTV ranked “#1 in Customer Satisfaction among Satellite/Cable TV Subscribers” in 2002 and 2003 by J.D. Power and Associates.

“I want to thank Roxanne for her effective leadership through a very challenging period and difficult circumstances at DIRECTV,” said Chase Carey, CEO-designee of HUGHES. “She brought a singular focus and boundless energy to DIRECTV that has improved its performance in the last two years and positioned it for future growth. I wish her well as she goes forward to new challenges.”

Eddy W. Hartenstein, DIRECTV chairman and CEO, added, “Despite the uncertainties that existed concerning the ultimate ownership of HUGHES, quarter after quarter, Roxanne kept the entire DIRECTV organization focused on continuously improving DIRECTV’s performance. She deserves much credit for turning around and strengthening DIRECTV in every way. While we respect her decision to pursue other opportunities, her passion and enthusiasm for DIRECTV will be missed.”

Jack A. Shaw, HUGHES’ president and CEO, commented, “Roxanne has provided outstanding leadership for DIRECTV at a critical period in its history and we have been fortunate to have her as part of the HUGHES management team.”

The transactions by which News Corp would acquire 34 percent of HUGHES remain subject to certain regulatory clearances, including approval by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The parties currently expect to complete the transactions in late 2003.
 
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