Major Shake-up At Sling Media: Krikorian Brothers, Hirschhorn, White, Wilkes Leaving

imageLittle more than a year after Sling Media’s sale to EchoStar (NSDQ: SATS), the co-founders and the top team at Sling Entertainment are leaving the company, has learned. The news is being broken to staff in meetings going on now. Departing are brothers Blake and Jason Krikorian, respectively CEO and SVP-business development, and Jason Hirschhorn and Ben White, president and chief creative officer of the Sling Media Entertainment Group. The senior executives agreed to stay in place for at least a year following the acquisition, which was valued at $380 million, but we’ve been expecting one or more to leave — especially given the entrepreneurial bent. The move comes after a burst of good publicity about the new Sling DVR, iPhone app and back-to-back best of shows at CES and Macworld.

Much more after the jump and on our Sling Media channel.

Also leaving: Greg Wilkes, VP-sales. I’ve been told COO John Gilmore will take the reins for now but that may not be official. While no one is talking about any differences, there certainly is a big cultural gap between the tech-creative side and the traditional cable team at EchoStar. (Coming back to this, I think it goes beyond that kind of tension. Charlie Ergen is chairman, president and CEO or EchStar for a reason: he likes control. The tight approach works with some better than others.) As for timing, Hirshhorn said in a phone interview following the announcement that he and the others wanted to get the programming and integration in place, then make it through another CES: “Now it’s time for the entrepreneurs to move on.” The former MTVN (NYSE: VIA) digital head joined Sling in 2006 with White, also an MTVN exec, to launch the entertainment group. Future plans for now: the Krikorians, Hirschhorn and White all are planning to take some time off.

Update: Just got off the phone with Blake Krikorian, who says his departure is effective immediately. “I’m out of there now. I want to just cut it … it’s best just to get it done because it