SES taps O3b’s Steve Collar to lead all non-television business

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Global satellite fleet operator SES has elevated the role of O3b Networks Chief Executive Steve Collar to one that oversees all of the company’s non-video broadcast business.

Collar took over as CEO of O3b Networks in 2012 after Mark Rigolle left the role. Rigolle served as CEO for one year after the departure of founder Greg Wyler.

Collar helped prove O3b’s business from the company’s heavily-critiqued early days, when the idea of a constellation of satellites in rarely-used medium Earth orbit beaming internet connectivity with the scarcely used and weather-sensitive Ka-band was viewed with great skepticism.

O3b now has 12 satellites in orbit with eight more on the way from manufacturer Thales Alenia Space. The company reported revenues of $109 million in 2016, an increase of more than 90 percent thanks to growth in mobility, enterprise and government services.

Collar is now tasked with leading those three verticals for all of SES, the company announced April 6.

SES raised slightly more than $1 billion in May 2016 to take 100 percent ownership of O3b. Karim Sabbagh, president and CEO of SES, said in February that owning O3b enabled the company to plan more MEO satellites for data services than was possible before.

“This new market facing structure will enable SES to accelerate the execution of its market centric strategy and concentrate its differentiated capabilities within each community to best serve its customers globally,” Romain Bausch, chairman of the SES board of directors, said in an April 6 statement.

SES also promoted Ferdinand Kayser, previously chief commercial officer at SES, to the role of CEO of SES Video. Bausch said this operating model will enable SES to maximize its use of both O3b and MX1, a broadcast and digital media services division SES created by combining its SES Platform Services subsidiary with RR Media, which SES acquired in July 2016 for $242 million.

Both Collar and Kayser report to Sabbagh. SES said the new organizational structure will be implemented over the course of the year.