SES CEO to step down

As the market environment rapidly changes and grows substantially, leading satellite operator’s chief executive announces departure

Right in the middle of a year in which it seemed to be on a roll of success in delivering satellite-based connectivity services around the world, and in particular having just announced the launch of a second pair of medium Earth orbit (MEO) O3b mPOWER craft, satellite operator SES has announced that its CEO will be stepping down at the end of June.

Steve Collar has worked at SES for over 20 years and is said to be leaving to pursue other professional and personal endeavours. Current chief technology officer (CTO) Ruy Pinto will assume the role of CEO until a permanent successor is announced.

The SES board regards Collar as having successfully steered the business as CEO, leaving it in a strong position for the future with a differentiated multi-orbit capability, a “world-class” set of customer solutions, a simplified and market-centric organisation, and a strong balance sheet set to be further strengthened from the execution of C-band clearing.

Remarking on his surprise and imminent departure, Collar said: “It has been the greatest honour of my life to lead the incredible people at SES. SES has been the benchmark in the industry for decades and I leave the company as its leader and go back to being a huge supporter, admirer and fan, and will be cheering Ruy and the management team on from the sidelines.

“With O3b mPOWER launching, the company performing well and C-band all but delivered, the future is bright, and I wish the board and everyone at SES every success.”

Pinto joined SES in February 2017 and was appointed CTO in January 2019, tasked with driving the differentiation in multi-orbit capabilities and the cloudification of SES. Prior to SES, he spent over 25 years at Inmarsat in various lead technical and managerial roles. Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to be leading SES and working with our teams around the world through a transition period, progressing SES into a phase where we will continue to grow on a strong value creation trajectory for our stakeholders, executing strongly, simplifying our business and optimising our cost base.”

Frank Esser, chairman of the SES board of directors, added: “The current market environment is rapidly changing, and I welcome Ruy Pinto, who leads over half of the SES workforce today and has substantial industry experience, as we address the challenges and capture further opportunities in the market. The board has full confidence in Ruy and our management’s engagement on continued strong execution as we embark on a new phase of success for SES.”

The announcement came hot on the heels of SES announcing that connectivity services provided via O3b and O3b mPOWER constellation operating in MEO are now available commercially for the first time in Taiwan to space technology communication solutions provider Aerkomm Taiwan’s government customers, after it was recently awarded a commercial satellite communications frequency licence by the Taiwan Ministry of Digital Affairs authorising it to offer connectivity services via non-geostationary satellites.

Aerkomm said it would now be able to offer high-throughput, ultra-flexible and carrier-grade connectivity services delivered via O3b mPOWER, SES’s second-generation MEO communications system, from even the most remote regions across Taiwan. 

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