WASHINGTON — John Celli retired as president of Space Systems Loral June 28, SSL-parent company MDA Corp. announced today.

MDA appointed Dario Zamarian, an operating adviser at the private equity firm Blackstone, as group president. He held previous executive positions at Dell and Cisco. Paul Estey, a 20-year SSL employee whose current title is executive vice president of engineering and operations, will be executive vice president and chief operating officer. Both begin their new positions on July 17.

John Celli SSL President
John Celli, president of Space Systems Loral for 11 years, retired June 28, 2017. Credit: SSL

Celli was president of the spacecraft manufacturing company for 11 years, and worked at the company for 36 years in total. He joined the company in 1981 after six years at  Alenia in Italy.

SSL hired Celli as an antenna engineer in Palo Alto, California. His resume at SSL grew to include the titles of solar array supervisor, mechanical engineering manager, and director of spacecraft.

“I want to thank John for his many years of outstanding service at SSL, and for his role as a highly regarded leader in the satellite industry,” Howard Lance, president and chief executive officer of MDA, said in a June 28 statement. “His passion for space technology and his commitment to both customers and employees drove SSL to a leadership position in satellite design and manufacturing and set the groundwork for future growth based on innovative thinking and technical excellence.”

Caleb Henry is a former SpaceNews staff writer covering satellites, telecom and launch. He previously worked for Via Satellite and NewSpace Global.He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science along with a minor in astronomy from...