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US satellite-TV provider Dish Network said Tuesday that co-founder Charlie Ergen would relinquish his chief executive title in order to focus on the company’s emerging wireless business.

The new chief executive will be Erik Carlson, who has worked at Dish since 1995 and is currently the company’s chief operating officer. Mr Ergen will retain his job as chairman.

Mr Ergen said in a statement:

“With more than 20 years’ experience at Dish, Erik brings a complete understanding of the business opportunities both Dish TV and Sling TV possess. I have every confidence that under Erik’s leadership our new organizational structure will deliver value for Dish TV and Sling TV and will aid our entry into wireless.”

The move comes amid a shake-up in the pay-TV sector as more consumers opt to “cut the cord” and get their content from an array of sources, including internet and mobile. During the past few years, Mr Ergen has attempted to head off those pressures by diversifying Dish’s business, launching Sling TV and acquiring tens of billions of dollars of spectrum — the airwaves needed to deliver wireless telecoms services.

Dish shares, down 10.8 per cent year-to-date, rose about 1.2 per cent after the announcement before dipping back to trade roughly flat.

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