Eutelsat Chief Exec Stepping Down in March

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PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on Oct. 19 said Chief Executive Michel de Rosen will retire March 1 and be replaced by Rodolphe Belmer, who until July was chief executive of Groupe Canal, a large French media network.

Belmer, 46, left Groupe Canal as part of a broader shakeup of the company under a new owner. Before that, he was chief executive of Canal Plus, a pay-television network that is the showcase asset of Groupe Canal.

Paris-based Eutelsat, the world’s third-biggest fixed satellite services fleet operator when measured by revenue, said Belmer’s experience at Canal in confronting the rise of over-the-top (OTT) Internet-delivered television would be of value as Eutelsat faces the same challenge.

Well over half of Eutelsat’s revenue is from television broadcasting. Eutelsat and rival SES of Luxembourg are the dominant satellite television businesses in Europe, which remains the most lucrative in the world in terms of average satellite transponder-lease prices.

Eutelsat said de Rosen, 64, would retain his position as Eutelsat’s non-executive board chairman until November 2016, when the position comes up for a vote among Eutelsat shareholders.

“I feel this is the right time to hand over the reins and am delighted to welcome Rodolphe Belmer, in whom I have full confidence,” de Rosen said in a statement.

Eutelsat Vice Chairman Lord Birt said: “Michel’s decision to step aside from his executive duties at Eutelsat ends a six-year tenure during which his vision and leadership have transformed Eutelsat into a truly global player.”

Before taking over as chief executive, Belmer will be deputy chief executive alongside Michel Azibert, who currently holds the same position.