Sirius XM boss Mel Karmazin to be replaced?

Liberty Media Corp Chief Executive Greg Maffei escalated a war of words with Sirius XM Radio Inc boss Mel Karmazin on Thursday, saying Karmazin could be replaced when his contract expires at the end of the year.

Liberty Media is close to taking control of the satellite radio provider, pending approval by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

Speaking at a Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York, Maffei said that Karmazin, who has led Sirius XM since 2004, was “valuable” but not “irreplaceable.”

“I think there are plenty of people who could do a great job running the business,” said Maffei, whose Liberty Media holds a 49.6 percent stake in Sirius XM and has said it plans to raise its stake above 50 percent.

Karmazin’s contract expires at the end of the year. He told investors last week that he is open to contract negotiations but that “my instincts today are that Liberty does not need me at the company.”