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Liberty Media's

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Starz Entertainment unit named


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veteran Robert Clasen CEO.

Liberty Media Chief Dob Bennett said Clasen, who had been president and operating chief, will replace Mark Bauman, who is retiring as interim CEO. Clasen, who joined Starz in 2003, has been responsible for a series of deals with affiliates including Comcast,

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( MCCC) and Adelphia. Starz has also launched marketing campaigns alongside cable and DBS operators.

Liberty said the appointment of Clasen will mark the first time in Starz' 14-year history that it's run by someone other than Bauman or founder John Sie, who stepped aside this summer to pursue other interests.

"John and Mark achieved what a lot of people thought was an impossible mission," Bennett said of Sie and Bauman. "They built a new premium television business that rejuvenated what most had assumed was a mature industry. It is reflective of their dedication to the company that before moving on to new ventures, they actively participated in the selection of an excellent team to take the company to its next level. All of us at Liberty Media wish John and Mark the very best with their future endeavors."

On Monday, Liberty slipped 12 cents to $10.49.