Ex-Thuraya CEO joins OneWeb

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WASHINGTON — Thuraya’s former CEO, Samer Halawi, has joined satellite internet startup OneWeb, moving from Dubai to the United States to help the company launch a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites.

Halawi, who led satellite fleet operator Thuraya for six years, left in March for an undisclosed position. Thuraya’s chief technology officer Ahmed Al Shamsi took his place as acting CEO.

In a June 7 email, Halawi confirmed to SpaceNews his new role as OneWeb’s chief commercial officer.

Halawi has been working at OneWeb since April, according to a LinkedIn profile that says he’s focusing on “commercial activities, business development, and growth for OneWeb, to help bring affordable access to everyone.”

OneWeb formed in 2012 under the leadership of Greg Wyler, who also founded the medium-Earth orbit constellation O3b Networks in 2007. The company intends to start launching a constellation of around 900 small, high-throughput satellites starting in March 2018.

OneWeb spokesperson Katie Dowd told SpaceNews the company has around 1,450 people globally working full time on the OneWeb system. That number, she said, includes approximately 250 team members in OneWeb and its subsidiaries, plus employees across its partner base.