Intelsat plans a multi-layered strategy post-restructuring to tailor connectivity services to diverse markets. Credit: Intelsat

TAMPA, Fla. — Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler plans to retire after the satellite operator emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

62-year-old Spengler has spent more than 18 years at the company in various leadership roles, leading as CEO for the past six and a half years.

His plans to retire from Intelsat — and professionally — predate the company’s May 2020 filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a company official.

“We are nearing the conclusion of our restructuring with enhanced financial strength and are ideally positioned to embark on an exciting new business strategy for the next generation of 5G network connectivity,” Spengler said in a statement. 

“This is the right moment to make my retirement plans clear so that work can begin on identifying a new leader for the long term.”

In August, Intelsat said it had the support of holders of about 75% of its $15 billion debt for a restructuring plan to exit Chapter 11, which would cut its debt mountain by more than half to $7 billion.

Intelsat still needs the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia’s approval for this plan to go ahead, which it had hoped to achieve before the end of this year.

However, the timeline remains uncertain amid legal action against the company from satellite operator SES, one of Intelsat’s largest creditors.

Samer Halawi, Intelsat’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, recently spoke to SpaceNews about the operator’s post-bankruptcy multi-orbit growth strategyIntelsat has issued a request for proposals for 10 software-defined satellites as part of this strategy, and is also considering its own low Earth orbit broadband constellation.

Spengler is also the second high-profile satellite operator CEO in two days to announce plans to step down.

Rodolphe Belmer said Oct. 20 he will depart as Eutelsat’s CEO at the beginning of 2022, following six years at the French satellite operator’s helm. Belmer left to head Atos, a French information technology and consulting company.

Intelsat has hired executive search firm Egon Zehnder to find a new CEO.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...