Avanti CEO “steps down”

David Williams, the much-criticised CEO of London-based satellite operator Avanti Communications, is stepping down. The company say that Alan Harper, a board director, has moved into the position while a “comprehensive search” for a successor to Williams is sourced. Williams leaves immediately.

Paul Walsh, Avanti’s chairman, in a very brief statement to the London Stock Exchange, said: “We are grateful to David Williams for the contribution he has made to the business since it was founded. He has led the Company through extremely challenging circumstances and market conditions.”

The company, which specialises in delivering Ka-band broadband to Africa, has been challenged by missed forecasts, lower-than-expected profitability and a – usually – tumbling share price. However, the news on August 10th sent the company’s share price UP 4 per cent, to a still miserable 9.15 pence (€0.10). One year ago, they were trading at 46p, and as recently as November 2014 stood at £3.16 a share.

Williams has been well rewarded for his time at Avanti. The company’s 2016 Annual Report & Accounts shows that despite a falling revenue picture (of just $82.8 million for the year ending June 2016), Williams banked some $785,000 in salary and benefits. This was well down on his 2015 package, which with bonus payments, saw him earn $1.154 million. He is also sitting on about 1.7 million – pretty much worthless – shares currently.

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