RIP: CE Industry Legend Joe Clayton

The consumer electronics industry is mourning the loss of industry legend Joe Clayton who died on Saturday at age 69.

Clayton, known for his boisterous larger-than-life personality, played a pioneering role in direct broadcast satellite and spearheaded many consumer electronics technologies over four decades. He held a number of high-level executive positons including CEO of Dish Network, CEO of SiriusXM, and executive vice president of marketing and sales for the RCA brand when it was owned by the French company Thomson. Clayton was instrumental in the launch of DirecTV at Thomson.

Clayton, was inducted into the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the Consumer Technology Association’s Digital Patriot Award in 2013.

“The consumer technology sector has lost a legend,” said Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO. “Joe was a strong and ethical leader — a lion of the industry, who was larger than life. He saw the future clearly and helped lead the industry in areas including direct broadcast satellite, HDTV, and satellite radio. Joe focused on the big picture, increasing growth by inspiring people.

“I still remember Joe entering Dish’s press conference at CES 2015 banging a bass drum and leading a parade of people dressed as kangaroos — the company’s mascot — onto the stage. If heaven doesn’t have premium program choices and great video and sound, I’m pretty sure Joe will make some changes up there.”

A self-described “poor young kid from the hills of Bardstown (Kentucky),” Clayton was a trustee and lifelong supporter of his alma mater, Bellarmine University in Louisville. He also earned a Master of Business Administration in marketing and management from Indiana University.

Clayton is survived by his wife, Janet, daughters Megan Stovall (Matthew), Kelly Herr (Brock), Kathleen Reitz (Andy), and Molly; son John Paul; grandchildren Samuel, Abigail, William and Lucas Paul; brother Mike Clayton (Leigh Ann); and sister Ellen Willett (Jerry).