Eddy W. Hartenstein was named publisher and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Times in August, 2008. The role finds Hartenstein entering a new phase of his career, yet faced with the complex issues challenging newspaper and media companies in the digital age, he is again forging an uncharted path.
Previously, Hartenstein presided over the birth and growth of the satellite television business. As the founder and guiding force of DirecTV since the company's inception in 1990, Hartenstein helped to establish satellite TV as an innovative entertainment programming and distribution medium and served as the company's chairman and CEO, responsible for the strategic planning of what became the nation's leading digital multichannel television service.
Born in 1950 in Alhambra, California, like many students of the era, Hartenstein's interest in technology and aerospace/technology were sparked by the space race. Hartenstein earned Bachelor of Science degrees in aerospace engineering and mathematics from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He then joined Hughes Aircraft in 1972, and in 1974, earned a Master of Science degree in applied mechanics from Cal Tech. By 1981, Hartenstein had become vice president of Hughes Communications.
In 1984, Hartenstein left Hughes to become president of Equatorial Communications Services. He returned to Hughes Communications in 1987 as a senior vice president. While at Hughes and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he demonstrated a knack for anticipating and actualizing future trends and held a number of increasingly high-profile positions. He was responsible for expanding Hughes' acquisition and deployment of commercial communications satellites and directed the development and marketing of the original Galaxy satellite fleet, which served the fast-developing broadcast television and cable programming industries.
In 1990, Hartenstein was named president of the new Hughes-owned subsidiary to develop direct-to-home satellite TV service. Hartenstein organized the new business, assembled the executive team and transformed a mere concept into DirecTV, one of the most successful new product launches in consumer electronics history.
Under Hartenstein's direction, DirecTV paved the way for digital television to be provided to millions of consumers worldwide without connection to a cable system. His vision and leadership resulted in a new outlet for broadcasting services, and provided a foundation for the launch of many new channels and programming choices for the public. He also led the regulatory push to allow local broadcast stations to be rebroadcast into local markets over DBS. He served as DirecTV chairman and CEO from 2001 to 2004.
During his tenure, Hartenstein led the regulatory push to change U.S. law to allow local broadcast stations to be rebroadcast into local markets over direct broadcast satellite and, through DirecTV, led the television industry to digital television. Hartenstein was named DirecTV's chairman and CEO in 2001 and retired as vice chairman of the DirecTV group after the company's sale to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. in December 2004.
Hartenstein sits on the board of directors of Broadcom Corp., Sirius XM Radio and SanDisk as well as City of Hope. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Class of 2001, and into two Halls of Fame: Broadcasting & Cable in 2002 and the Society of Satellite Professionals in 2005. In 2007, Hartenstein received a lifetime achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and later this month will be inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame.