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SES Appoints Adel Al-Saleh as its New CEO

By Mark Holmes | October 13, 2023

      SES appoints Adel Al Saleh as CEO. Photo: SES

      SES hired from outside of the satellite industry with its new CEO. The company announced Oct. 13 that T-Systems International executive Adel Al-Saleh will become its new CEO in February next year.

      Steve Collar, who had been CEO for over six years, left at the end of June. Ruy Pinto has been the interim CEO of SES in the period and will continue this role until Al-Saleh takes over next year. SES said that Pinto will remain on SES’s executive team until June 2024 and then will be a strategic advisor to the CEO. Milton Torres, who succeeded Pinto as CTO on an interim basis, will continue in that capacity.

      Al-Saleh has an interesting background and has worked across a variety of industries including IT, telecoms and healthcare. Since January 2018, Al-Saleh has been CEO at T-Systems International, the integrated IT services provider and subsidiary of telecoms company Deutsche Telekom (DT), and he has served as a member of the board of management at DT throughout this period. He is credited with leading the company’s transition from an IT and outsourcing business to an integrated IT services and digital solutions provider. 

      Previously, Al-Saleh also spent around 20 years at IBM. He has also held senior positions at IMS Health, and been the CEO of KKR-owned Northgate Information Solutions (NIS) Group.

      “I am excited and honored to be joining SES. The business is well placed for the future with world-class customer solutions, differentiated capabilities and an industry-leading financial position. I am looking forward to working with a strong team of colleagues to drive SES forward and create value in an exciting and rapidly evolving market environment,” Al-Saleh said in a statement.

      Al-Saleh joins SES as the satellite operator is preparing to enter service with its O3b mPOWER constellation. SES is also set to receive a $3 billion pre-tax payment in this fiscal quarter from the FCC for clearing the C-band ahead of schedule. 

      Earlier this year, SES was in talks to merge with rival satellite operator Intelsat, but talks ended over the summer without a merger. While outgoing CEO Collar had long argued for industry consolidation, Collar told Via Satellite that what happened between SES and Intelsat was not tied to his departure. 

      Al-Saleh is the latest new appointment among the top satellite operators, many of which appointed new leaders in the past two years. Eva Berneke joined Eutelsat in late 2021, Hamid Akhavan joined EchoStar (with subsidiary Hughes Network Systems) in 2022, and David Wajsgras joined Intelsat in 2022 as well.