His successor will be Karim Michel Sabbagh (49) and he will take over next April although will take up the ‘CEO Designate’ position on September 1st. He has been a member of the SES board since April 2011. Sabbagh was, until recently, a senior partner at the Dubai office of Booz & Co.
“He is widely recognised for his vast expertise in the industry and for his focus on the emerging markets,” said an SES statement. “At Board and Chief Executive levels, Mr. Sabbagh has shaped and served the strategic agenda of global players in the communications, media and satellite sectors. He has led multinational teams in long-term, large-scale privatisations, international expansion, mergers and acquisitions, growth acceleration and strategy-based transformation programmes. He was also directly responsible for the structuring of global companies and played an essential role in building their capabilities over multi-year programmes.
René Steichen, Chairman of the Board of SES, stated: “Romain’s decision to retire as President and CEO will bring an end to an almost 20-year tenure during which the company grew from a European Direct-To-Home Satellite System with four satellites into a leading satellite industry player operating a global fleet of more than 50 satellites. Romain’s vision, leadership, exceptional institutional relationship-building and commitment to the company have enabled this outstanding achievement.”
“By appointing Karim Michel Sabbagh, the Board has ensured a strong succession and a flawless transition. Karim’s vast knowledge of our industry, his experience in the emerging markets as well as his management skills will further enable the company’s growth potential. We are confident that, under Karim’s leadership, SES’s management and employees will continue to drive innovation and quality of service to support our customers and business partners and create shareholder value.”