Avanti CEO leaves company

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WASHINGTON — David Williams, chief executive of broadband satellite operator Avanti Communications, has parted ways with the company he co-founded.

London-based Avanti announced July 10 that Williams was leaving the company and its board of directors. A non-executive board director, Alan Harper, is taking his place as an interim CEO effective immediately, the company said. Harper has been at Avanti for five months.

Williams started Avanti in 2000, according to LinkedIn, with David Bestwick, who continues to serve as the company’s technical director. Avanti has struggled to finance its latest satellite, the high-throughput Hylas-4 from Orbital ATK, having pulled the full $100 million gained through a three-year super senior facility in June to ensure the satellite is funded through construction and launch on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket later this year.

Avanti said it will soon begin a search for a new full-time CEO to replace Harper.

“I have been honoured to work with such a talented and dedicated team who have contributed so much to this Company,” Williams said in an Aug. 10 statement. “They should be proud of what they have built and I am confident that the excellent service they deliver to customers will see Avanti continue to grow and flourish.”

Avanti operates a fleet of three satellites — Hylas 1, Hylas 2 and the Artemis satellite, the latter of which formerly belonged to the European Space Agency — has a Ka-band beam on SES’s Astra-5B rebranded as Hylas-2B, and two other payloads under construction.

Hylas-3, a hosted payload built into ESA’s European Data Relay Satellite C, carries 8 Ka-band beams; Hylas-4 will have 66 fixed beams covering Africa and Europe, and four steerable beams capable of reaching as far as Latin America.

Avanti reported a $16 million increase in revenue for the quarter ended June 30 to $62 million, and in May said the company would be begin targeting the mobility markets of aviation, maritime, and land, including the connected car. Previously Avanti had directed its focus on satellite to national telecom operators across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.