Intelsat’s new CEO is putting together a management team

Intelsat announced leadership changes in financial, commercial, and aviation on May 5 to help guide the satellite operator’s post-bankruptcy future. The executive appointments came a month after David Wajsgras, a former Raytheon executive, took over as CEO, succeeding Stephen Spengler, who had been at the head for over seven years.

Former Raytheon Chief Financial Officer Anthony (Toby) O’Brien has been hired to the same position at Intelsat. Raytheon hired O’Brien as CFO in the year 2015 to succeed Wajsgras, who had been appointed the leader of the company’s intelligence unit.

Wajsgras left Raytheon after it joined United Technologies in 2020 to join a private equity company, however, O’Brien remained as the combined group’s CFO. O’Brien will be in charge of Intelsat’s $7 billion debt, which was cut from $16 billion during a long-running reorganization process that began in May 2020, after the firm emerged from bankruptcy on February 23.

As Intelsat’s CFO, O’Brien succeeds David Tolley. In addition, on May 5, Intelsat named Jeff Sare as its commercial aviation division president, taking over for John Wade. When Intelsat purchased the commercial aviation segment of Gogo’s inflight connectivity business at the end of 2020, the operator was already in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

He remained the president of commercial aviation at Gogo until January, according to his LinkedIn profile. Sare was formerly vice president and business sector leader of Panasonic Avionics’ connection solutions division, which services an inflight connectivity market that Intelsat predicts will be vital for future growth.

As SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network announces impending services aboard airlines, fierce rivalry in the inflight connectivity sector is heating up. As part of the leadership changes, Intelsat appointed Clay McConnell to serve as the senior vice president in charge of the corporate communications and marketing. McConnell formerly worked for Delta Airlines as the corporate communications director and for Airbus Americas as the head of communications.

Intelsat also announced on May 5 that chief services officer Michael DeMarco has been elevated to the chief commercial officer, succeeding Samer Halawi, who announced his intention to quit in December after he joined Intelsat in January of 2018.

Intelsat bought 2 software-defined spacecrafts from Thales Alenia Space on January 12 as a portion of a post-restructuring development strategy that might include the operator’s low-Earth-orbit constellation, as per Halawi in October.

In 2025, the IS-41 and IS-44 satellites will launch, providing commercial & government mobility services as well as cellular backhaul over the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Intelsat intends to gain almost $5 billion in profits from clearing the C-band spectrum for terrestrial cellular carriers, which will help fund these expansion plans. However, in an ongoing legal battle before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, satellite operator SES is disputing Intelsat’s part of the revenues.

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