Joe Clayton, CE Industry Titan, Passes
Joseph P. “Joe” Clayton, a seminal consumer electronics industry figure whose 40-plus-year CE career spanned tenures at a roster of companies where he spurred innovation in the development and marketing of CE products, telecommunications, satellite radio and satellite TV broadcasting, died on Saturday, Nov. 3. He was 69.
His retirement in 2015 as president and CEO of DISH Network, where he also oversaw the start of the OTT (over-the-top) Sling TV service, capped a string of leadership positions beginning in the 1990s. In that long stretch, Clayton was instrumental in the launch and nurturing of new technologies and formats that have made indelible imprints on consumers’ everyday lives.
From 1992 to 1996, Clayton, as executive vice president of marketing and sales at Thomson S.A., GE’s Consumer Electronics Division, shepherded the RCA brand of televisions and VCRs as well as the industry rollout of DirecTV in 1994.
In the late ’90s, he joined Frontier Communications (then Frontier Corp., a fiber optic network developer and long distance phone carrier), and was at its helm as CEO when it acquired digital content distributor and Internet access company GlobalCenter. He went on to become president of the company that acquired Frontier – international communications carrier Global Crossing – and served there until 2001, when he was named CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio (which became SiriusXM, after its merger with XM Satellite Radio), as satellite radio got its start. He became its chairman in 2004 and served as such until 2008. He also served as a director of EchoStar Corp. from 2008 to 2011.
Clayton was a former chair of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), CES’s producer, and was named a CTA Hall of Fame honoree in 2008.
He is survived by his wife, Janet, his daughters, Megan, Kelly, Kathleen and Molly, his son, John Paul, and his grandchildren.