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Frank Esser to chair SES board

By Chris Dziadul

SES’s board of directors has elected Frank Esser as chairperson of the board for a period of one year.

It has in addition re-elected both Tsega Gebreyes and Anne-Catherine Ries as vice-chairpersons of the board, also for a period of one year.

Furthermore, at SES’s AGM, shareholders approved a reduction in the board’s size from 14 to 12 Directors. In addition, shareholders elected Béatrice de Clermont-Tonnerre and Peter van Bommel for an initial two-year mandate and elected Paul Konsbruck and Frank Esser for another three-year mandate. They also re-elected Ramu Potarazu, Kaj-Erik Relander and Anne-Catherine Ries for three years.

In the context of the reduction in board size, shareholders also noted the resignations of Victor Casier, Hadelin de Liedekerke Beaufort, Marc Serres and François Tesch as directors of SES. The AGM thanked those Directors for their contributions.

Consequently, SES’s board is now composed as follows: A-shareholders are represented by (all of them independent) Romain Bausch, Béatrice de Clermont-Tonnerre, Frank Esser, Tsega Gebreyes, Ramu Potarazu, Kaj-Erik Relander, Peter van Bommel, Katrin Wehr-Seiter; and B-shareholders are represented by Serge Allegrezza, Paul Konsbruck, Anne-Catherine Ries, Françoise Thoma.

At the AGM, Romain Bausch, chairman of the board and former president and CEO, informed the shareholders that he would not seek a new mandate as chairman, However, he will remain on the board as an independent director.

Bausch commented: “Having been at the helm of the company for 25 years, firstly as CEO and latterly as chairman and with the company now entering an exciting period of transformation under Steve Collar’s leadership and with a newly invigorated and streamlined board, I consider it to be the right time to pass the baton to a new chair in the renewed board.

“It has been a true privilege to serve SES in these different roles and I want to thank our shareholders for their continued support.”

Esser said: “I am honoured to be elected chairperson at this important and exciting time for our company with SES being in a great position for further development.

“I am delighted to be joining the board with several new directors who will each bring strong competencies, complementing those of the rest of our board colleagues. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Romain and his contribution, commitment and on-going service to SES with his continued presence as a director.”

John Illingworth joins Bitmovin

By Chris Dziadul

John Illingworth has been appointed sales director Middle East at Bitmovin.

In his new role he will be based in the UAE.

Prior to joining the company he spent four years as sales director MENA at Verimatrix, and his previous positions include business development director MEA at Friend MTS (November 2014-December 2016) and an 11-year spell at Irdeto, where he was area sales director Russia, CIS and CEE from November 2003-2011 and sales director Middle East from July 2011-October 2014.

Illingworth has spent the last nine years of his career based in Dubai/UAE, before which he was based in Russia/Ukraine for eight years.

Alexander Torbakhov to head Beeline Russia

By Chris Dziadul

Veon has announced the appointment of Alexander Torbakhov as CEO of Beeline Russia, effective April 6.

Torbakhov has more than 25 years’ work experience, including most recently at X5 Retail Group and Sberbank, Russia’s largest retailer and largest bank, respectively. At Sberbank, he served on its board as deputy chairman and managed retail banking operations, including the expansion of digital products and services to more than 80 million customers. He also briefly led Beeline Russia’s operations a decade ago.

In his new role Torbakhov will report to Veon’s co-CEOs Sergi Herrero and Kaan Terzioglu.

Commenting on the appointment, Herrero and Terzioglu said: “Alexander is a respected business figure in Russia and brings with him a wealth of success from some of the country’s largest consumer and technology businesses. His experience and leadership will be crucial as we continue to transform the operational and financial performance of Beeline Russia.”

Torbakhov added: “Beeline is one of Russia’s strongest brands and I look forward to leading the company and continuing the operational and financial transformation that began several months ago. The coronavirus pandemic has again highlighted the importance of connectivity and digital services for society and I’m committed to placing customers at the centre of Beeline’s future strategy.”

Sky and Comcast execs donate salaries to Covid 19 relief

By Julian Clover

Sky group chief executive Jeremy Darroch is joining with senior members of the Comcast leadership team in donating their salaries in support of Covid-19 relief efforts.

The decision was announced by Comcast CEO and chief executive Brian Roberts in a statement released Wednesday.

“For the duration of this situation, our senior leaders – Mike Cavanagh, Dave Watson, Jeff Shell, Jeremy Darroch and I – have chosen to donate 100% of our salaries to charities that support Covid-19 relief efforts,” said Roberts. “We hope in some small way we can make this time easier on our employees, our local communities and our customers.”

“This is a time for everybody across the country to do their bit and make a difference where they can,” added Darroch.

Last week it was announced that NBCUniversal chief executive Jeff Shell had tested positive for Covid-19. The symptoms are thought to be mild and he is continuing to work from his Los Angeles home.

Hannes Ametsreiter remains CEO of Vodafone Deutschland

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The supervisory board of Vodafone Deutschland has prematurely extended Hannes Ametsreiter’s mandate as CEO of the telco by three years.

“Hannes Ametsreiter has led Vodafone Deutschland to new strength over the past four and a half years – with a clear growth strategy, innovation-based vision, strategic acquisitions and a strong focus on digital transformation,” said supervisory board chairman Frank Rövekamp.

“Our company is now in a better position than ever before. With the extension of his mandate decided today, we are honouring his achievements, at the same time ensuring that this success story continues.”

Ametsreiter has been CEO of Vodafone Deutschland since October 2015. He is currently in his second term of office. With the extension, his mandate at Vodafone will run until September 2024.

“I am very pleased that the Vodafone supervisory board has renewed its confidence in our management course,” said Ametsreiter. “Together with all 16,000 Vodafone employees, we would like to continue our work in the coming years.”

“To achieve this, we are pursuing three major goals: We want to further advance the gigabit society in Germany. We want to focus even more strongly on helping people and companies. And we want to press ahead with the integration of Unitymedia, position ourselves even more strongly as a digital company – and thus also leverage important synergies for our business.”

Jason Kilar to head WarnerMedia

By Chris Dziadul

Jason Kilar has been appointed CEO of WarnerMedia, effective May 1. He will report to John Stankey, AT&T’s president and CEO.

Commenting on the appointed, Stankey said: “Jason is a dynamic executive with the right skill set to lead WarnerMedia into the future. His experience in media and entertainment, direct-to-consumer video streaming and advertising is the perfect fit for WarnerMedia, and I am excited to have him lead the next chapter of WarnerMedia’s storied success.

“Our team led by Bob Greenblatt, Ann Sarnoff, Gerhard Zeiler and Jeff Zucker has done an amazing job establishing our brands as leaders in the hearts and minds of consumers. Adding Jason to the talented WarnerMedia family as we launch HBO Max in May gives us the right management team to strategically position our leading portfolio of brands, world-class talent and rich library of intellectual property for future growth.”

Kilar added: “In partnership with this world-class team, I’m so excited for the opportunity to lean into the future at WarnerMedia.

“Stories well told have always mattered, and they matter even more in this challenging time for the world. It will be a privilege to invent, create, and serve with so many talented people. May 1st can’t get here soon enough.”

Kilar was CEO of Hulu from its start in 2007 until 2013. He served in several leadership positions at Amazon from 1997 to 2006, including SVP of Worldwide Application Software. Also, he was co-founder & CEO of video streaming service Vessel from 2013 to 2017. Additionally, he served as a board member at DreamWorks Animation (2013-2016) and Univision Communications (2016-2020).

Hrvatski Telekom recruits Igor Vukasovic

By Chris Dziadul

Igor Vukasovic has been appointed the director of the corporate communications department at Hrvatski Telekom (HT), effective April 1.

In his new role he will be responsible for the Croatian incumbent’s internal and external communication.

Vukasovic was most recently the manager of corporate communications at Addiko Bank, where he managed corporate communications over the past nine years.

During his career, he served as the corporate communications director of the Addiko Group and handled the communications aspect of its privatisation and rebranding.

He began his professional career at Maksima komunikacije and Millennium promocija PR agencies.

Jacob Keret to leave Spacecom

By Chris Dziadul

Jacob Keret has announced his departure from Spacecom, where he was most recently SVP sales Europe and North America.

Keret has more than 20 years global business and management experience in the aerospace and telecommunications field.

He served for six years as VP of marketing and sales at Starling Advanced Communications, an innovator in satellite communication systems. Prior to that, he was a co-founder of Spacecom.

In his role at Spacecom, he led a team that generated several dozen million US. dollars in sales within a few years and helped build the company into a leader in several European markets.

During his nine years of service at Spacecom, he was personally responsible for the successful Amos 1, 2 & 3 satellite project businesses.

Previously, he held the position of marketing manager in the MBT Division, Space Directorate of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI). Earlier, as a space systems engineer in the same division, he was responsible for satellite trajectory planning and performance analysis.

Andrei Lipov to head Roskomnadzor

By Chris Dziadul

Andrei Lipov has been appointed the head of the Russian regulator Roskomnadzor.

He takes over from Andrei Zharov, who last week became the general director of Gazprom-Media. Lipov has 30 years of experience in the field of information technology and communications.

From 1990 to 2007, he worked at various positions in this field. Since 2008, Lipov worked in the Department of State Policy in the Field of Informatization and Information Technologies of the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation. Starting from the position of deputy head of the development programs department and gradually receiving promotions, in 2010 he headed the entire department.

Prior to his appointment as head of Roskomnadzor, Lipov in 2012 led the department for the application of information technology and the development of e-democracy, which in 2018 was renamed the Office of the President of Russia on Information and Communication Technologies and Communication Infrastructure.

Svetlana Balanova joins Gazprom-Media

By Chris Dziadul

Svetlana Balanova has been to appointed the new position of first deputy DG of Russia’s Gazprom-Media.

Prior to joining the holding, she spent nine years at IBS, one of the leading IT service companies in Russia.

Commenting on the appointment, Gazprom-Media general director Alexander Zharov said: I am very glad that Svetlana Balanova has joined our team. Her knowledge and competencies in the field of high technologies and digital transformation will undoubtedly be in demand, taking into account the digital vector of the holding’s development.”

Harmonic promotes Velimir Godec

By Chris Dziadul

Velimir Godec has been appointed sales director, cable Eastern Europe at Harmonic.

Godec joined Harmonic in March 2013 and was initially strategic accounts and new business development manager, Balkans.

He was in the position until August 2017 and the following month became the regional sales manager, South East Europe.

Prior to Harmonic Godec was with Teleste for eight years and seven months, where his last position, held for four years, was VP sales CEE region.

Stanislav Georgiev to head Bulsatcom

By Chris Dziadul

Stanislav Georgiev has been appointed the CEO of the Bulgarian pay-TV operator Bulsatcom.

He spent a total of 7 years and 11 months at A1 Telekom Austria Group, where he was head of A1 Group Media Broadcast between September 2014 and January 2019.

More recently he was a senior advisor at Arthur D. Little between February 2019 and February this year.

He remains a managing partner at Media Gurus Group and chairman of the Digital Entertainment & Media Summit at Webit.Foundation.

CEO Max Conze leaves ProSiebenSat.1

By JΓΆrn Krieger

ProSiebenSat.1 is facing the consequences from the ongoing turbulence in the company: CEO Max Conze will leave the German broadcaster with immediate effect.

With the move, ProSiebenSat.1 is reacting to the departure of several senior executives, criticism from within the company’s own ranks and the sharp drop in the share price. Conze, who was previously CEO of UK-based vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson, joined ProSiebenSat.1 on June 1, 2018.

At the same time, ProSiebenSat.1 is reorganising its executive board. CFO Rainer Beaujean has additionally assumed the office of chairman of the executive board. New appointees to the executive board are Wolfgang Link and Christine Scheffler. Link heads the entertainment segment and Scheffler continues to be in charge of human resources.

The decisions were taken by the supervisory board on Thursday evening, March 26, 2020.

Accompanying the reshuffle of the executive board is a change in relation to the strategic focus. ProSiebenSat.1 is returning the primary focus of its operating business to the entertainment sector in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The main emphasis will be on local and live formats, also in close cooperation with its production subsidiaries Red Arrow Studios and Studio71.

The group’s digital reach is to be further extended, for example through the streaming platform Joyn, jointly operated with Discovery.

The e-commerce subsidiary NuCom remains an important pillar of the group in synergistic terms. The existing equity shareholdings, which benefit from advertising on the entertainment platforms, will continue to be developed to generate value and sold in due course under an active portfolio policy.

Gazprom-Media confirms Alexander Zharov appointment

By Chris Dziadul

The board of directors at Russia’s Gazprom-Media has appointed Alexander Zharov the general director, effective March 24 and for a period of three years.

Prior to joining the company, he was head of the regulator Roskomnadzor for eight years. Commenting on the appointment, Alexei Miller, chairman of the board of directors of Gazprom-Media Holding, said: “Traditional media are going through a stage of rapid changes under the influence of new technologies and increasing competition. Our task is to strengthen the leading position of the holding in changing conditions. Large-scale digital transformation and the use of the potential of the “big Gazprom” should be the most important success factors. The experience of Alexander Alexandrovich Zharov, gained over the years of supervision of the field of information technology and communications, his whole, broad view of Russian media and a deep understanding of the processes occurring in the industry, are designed to successfully solve the tasks.”

Alexander Zharov added: “I am very grateful to the shareholders and the board of directors of Gazprom-Media for the trust placed in me. I am ready to apply all my knowledge and experience for the benefit of the company. I carefully monitor the activities of the creative teams that make up the holding, and I pay tribute to their high professionalism. I can assure you that I will always adhere to the principles of mutual respect and openness in the management of the holding and its structures.”

Gazprom-Media was headed by Dmitry Chernyshenko since 2015.

On January 21, 2020, he was appointed deputy PM in the government of Mikhail Mishustin.

Jacek Kunicki new Orange Polska CFO

By Chris Dziadul

Jacek Kunicki has been appointed the executive director in charge of finance at the Polish incumbent Orange Polska, effective March 31.

At the same time, Maciej Nowochonski is to evolve his responsibilities as a management board member and will now be in charge of carriers market and real estate sales.

He was previously in charge of finance and since February 6 also in charge of carriers market.

Orange Polska says that the decision to appoint Kunicki as an executive director follows a meeting of the supervisory board of Orange Polska which due to COVID-19 epidemic threat was held entirely remotely. The agenda of the meeting included voting on nomination of Kunicki as management board member. However, according to Polish law this vote could not take place, given the physical absence of the supervisory board members.

Commenting on the appointment, the chairman of the supervisory board of Orange Polska Maciej Witucki said: “Unfortunately circumstances forced today’s supervisory board meeting to be held remotely, which did not allow for a vote on the appointment of Jacek Kunicki to the management board. However, in the course of our discussion it was clear to me that the Supervisory Board intends to approve this nomination at the next in-person meeting. This nomination has my support also.”

Orange Polska CEO Jean-François Fallacher added: “I would like to offer my congratulations to Maciej and Jacek. For the past six years, Maciej has successfully steered Orange Polska’s finances through the implementation of our strategy and return to growth. He was also responsible for a significant acceleration of disposals of real estate as part of a transformation of the company’s assets. Maciej will now fully take over our wholesale operations, including the exploration of new business opportunities (e.g. Fibreco project). He will also continue to be responsible for real estate disposals. Jacek’s nomination as CFO is a natural internal succession that recognises his competences. For the past six years, as chief controller Jacek has worked very closely with Maciej and other board members, which ensures that the finance area will undergo a smooth transition. His previous experience in investor relations will be an additional asset in his new role. I am confident that our management board will be stronger as we design our new strategy.”

Kunicki has worked in Orange Polska since 2003, holding a number of managerial positions of growing responsibility within the finance area, in particular he was the director of investor relations from 2010 to 2014 and Orange Polska group chief controller from 2014. He is a supervisory board member of Networks! and Teltech entities (part of Orange Polska Group). Before joining Orange, he worked in the finance team of a telecom Energis Polska.

Dan Zajicek to head Spacecom

By Chris Dziadul

Dan Zajicek has been appointed the CEO of Spacecom, effective April 1.

Itzik Shnaiberg, who has served as Acting CEO since January 1, 2020, will return to his deputy CEO position at that time.

Zajicek comes to Spacecom from Satcom Systems, owner of Gilat Satcom, where he served as CEO from 2012, after fulfilling senior management positions in the international satellite services industry. At Bezeq International he served as VP responsible for Regulatory Affairs, International Business Development and HR as well as VP of its Business Development unit and CFO.

Zajicek also served as senior deputy DG of Israel’s Communications Ministry and in the National Budget Unit of Israel’s Finance Ministry.

Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am very excited to join Spacecom. With four satellites serving communities in four different regions, and with three of those satellites servicing Africa, Spacecom is moving forward in meeting its long-term business goals. We have a bright future in our fast-moving business environment, and I will bring our competitive advantages to the fore and keep the company advancing into growing markets”.

Patrick Le Lay dies aged 77

By Julian Clover

Former TF1 CEO Patrick Le Lay has died at the age of 77, his son Laurent Eric Le Lay announced on Wednesday.

A public works engineer by trade he led the Bouygues group that bought the former French public broadcaster when it was privatised in 1987. Le Lay went on to lead the broadcaster for the next two decades.

In a statement, Gilles Pélisson, Chairman and CEO of the TF1 Group said: “Patrick Le Lay was a visionary for the world of modern television, a great entrepreneur and a daring entrepreneur who knew how to create the solid foundations of a television group that we continue to build on today. All my thoughts go out to his family and loved ones.”

Alexander Zharov to head Gazprom Media

By Chris Dziadul

Alexander Zharov, currently the head of the Russian regulator Roskomnadzor, is to become the new CEO of Gazprom Media.

RBC reports that the position at Gazprom Media has been vacant since January, when its former occupant Dmitry Chernyshenko became deputy PM.

Zharov has held the top position at Roskomnadzor since 2011, prior to which he occupied senior roles in the government and public broadcaster VGTRK.

Gazprom Media’s assets include the TV channels NTV, TNT, Pyatnitsa,Match TV and TV3.

Deputy CEO Conrad Albert to leave ProSiebenSat.1

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Conrad Albert, deputy CEO of ProSiebenSat.1, will resign from his office with mutual consent on April 30, 2020 after 15 years at the German media company.

Albert has worked at ProSiebenSat.1 since 2005, since 2006 as general counsel. Nine years ago, he was appointed member of the executive board.

His responsibilities included the group-wide distribution business, the establishment of partnerships, strategic and sustainability projects as well as all legal, media political and compliance matters. Since November 2017 he has also been deputy CEO of the company.

Tiphaine Louradour to head ILS

By Chris Dziadul

Tiphaine Louradour has been appointed the new president of ILS International Launch Services.

She has joined the company with over two decades of Space Industry and management experience, most recently as president of global commercial sales at United Launch Alliance (ULA).

Prior to this, she held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in finance, risk management, strategy, commercial sales and marketing and also gained international business experience while serving as a consultant to international consulting firms in the US and Europe.

ILS is owned by JSC Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre and currently markets the Proton launch vehicle, with the new Angara launch vehicle on the horizon. It is based in Reston, VA, near Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, JSC Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Centre has its headquarters in Fili, Moscow.