PARIS — Longtime commercial satellite operator executive Robert Bednarek, a former chief technology officer of PanAmSat before becoming chief executive of SES World Skies, died Jan. 6 in Princeton, N.J., after a long battle with cancer. He was 55.

Luxembourg-based SES issued a statement Jan. 8 expressing its “profound sadness” and its sympathies to Bednarek’s family. He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth, and children, Stephanie and Michael.

From 1979 to 1984 Bednarek, who had a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida, was deputy chief scientist for the U.S. Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He was awarded several U.S. patents involving the U.S. Global Positioning System of navigation satellites.

After several years as chief technology officer of U.S.-based PanAmSat, Bednarek joined SES’s executive committee in 2002. He was a key player in SES’s acquisition, in 2006, of satellite fleet operator New Skies of the Netherlands and subsequently was named chief executive of SES New Skies, which later became SES World Skies.

SES named him a special adviser to SES Chief Executive Romain Bausch in 2011 after he had begun treatment for cancer. That same year he was inducted into the Society of Satellite Professionals International Hall of Fame.

“His accomplishments at SES significantly contributed to establishing the company in its current position,” Bausch said in a Jan. 8 statement. “But perhaps most of all, Rob will be remembered for the dignity and respect with which he treated all who were fortunate enough to know him. Rob will be sadly missed by all of us at SES and by many in the satellite industry.”

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews.