Chairman, Dish Network and EchoStar Communications
In 1980, Charlie Ergen co-founded EchoStar Communications Corporation with his wife, Candy, and business associate Jim DeFranco. The company sold C-band satellite TV dishes to rural homes in Colorado. Under his vision and leadership, Dish Network was launched in 1996 and became the fastest growing direct-to-home satellite television company in the United States, currently serving more than 14 million customers. In 2008, EchoStar Communications Corporation and Dish Network officially split into two separate, publicly traded companies. Ergen is the chairman of both organizations. Today, EchoStar focuses on creating hardware and service solutions for cable, telco, IPTV and satellite TV companies worldwide.
Barron’s named Ergen one of the 30 World’s Best CEOs in 2007. He was previously named to the Forbes Top Ten CEOs lists and as the Frost & Sullivan 2001 CEO of the Year of the Satellite Industry. Also in 2001, Ergen was the first person to win the Rocky Mountain News’ Business Person of the year for a second time, having been recognized for the same award in 1996. Ergen was instrumental in fighting for consumer rights with the passage of the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act in 1999 and was a co-founder of the Satellite Broadcasting Communications Association.
Ergen received a Bachelor of Science degree in general business and accounting from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University’s Schools of Business. An avid mountain climber, Ergen is a member of the Colorado Mountain Club and has climbed all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks. He has scaled numerous other peaks around the world, including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina and, most recently, Mount Everest base camp in Nepal.
He and his wife, Candy, have been married for 30 years and enjoy spending time with their five children.