ENGLEWOOD, COLORADO - Michael Neuman, president and chief operating officer of US satellite broadcaster EchoStar Communications, walked the platinum plank this week - having presumably failed to agree with founder-chairman Charles Ergen as to how, when (and whether) he should assume some of the latter's day-to-day responsibilities.
    As late as last Friday, Neuman spoke in upbeat style to an industry analyst about his role in dealing with basic operational issues such as customer service.
    He apparently gave no hint of his impending departure. EchoStar said his duties will be split between vice chairman Carl Vogel and chief technical officer Michael Dugan.