WASHINGTON — Maxar Technologies has named the president of its DigitalGlobe division to replace Howard Lance, who resigned Jan. 14 as Maxar’s president and CEO after less than three years on the job.
The CEO change comes as Maxar looks to unload a struggling geostationary satellite manufacturing division that’s been a drag on the company’s recent earnings.
In a news release, Maxar said Daniel Jablonsky, a DigitalGlobe employee since 2012 and president since October 2017, joins Maxar’s board of directors along with being appointed president and CEO of the company.
Maxar, which announced nearly a year ago that it was moving its headquarters to DigitalGlobe’s longtime home of Westminster, Colorado, is in the process of deciding what to do with Space Systems Loral’s manufacturing line for large communications satellites — a business whose troubles were compounded last year by defective components that prolonged the construction of several satellites.
Maxar sold off some of SSL’s valuable Silicon Valley real estate in early December and said it intended to decide by year’s end whether it would sell or shutdown its geostationary satellite manufacturing portion of SSL.
Investors punished Maxar in October when the company reported a net loss instead of the profitable quarter the company had forecast. Maxar’s stock took a beating again last week after the company announced that WorldView-4, a high-resolution imaging satellite launched in late 2016, had suffered a potentially mission-ending hardware failure.
Maxar’s stock, worth around $52 a share six months ago, was trading at $5.83 a share when markets closed Jan. 11. Shares were up slightly in mid-day trading Jan. 14 following the news of Lance’s departure.
Jablonsky, in the news release, said finding a “definitive resolution” for Space Systems Loral’s geostationary communications satellite business is among Maxar’s top priorities, along with “clarifying longer-term growth prospects, required investments and the optimal capital structure.”
“Along with our management team and dedicated team members, I am committed to the future of Maxar and meeting the needs and expectations of all of our stakeholders,” he said in a statement. “We are already working on action plans and will address these plans in the near future.”
Lance became CEO of MDA Corp. in May 2016, and took the role of CEO of Maxar after MDA and DigitalGlobe merged in 2017.
Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Howell Estes, chairman of Maxar’s board, said transitioning Maxar from a Canadian company to a U.S. company was one of Lance’s most important accomplishments. Maxar announced the completion of its domestication process Jan. 2, enabling the company to compete for more U.S. government space contracts.