Advanced Television

Bankrupt Intelsat leads satellite world in salaries

June 18, 2020

Despite being in bankruptcy protection, Intelsat’s executives are seeking to continue receiving impressive salaries and compensation packages. Intelsat is continuing to operate its business as a ‘debtor in possession’.

On June 30th, the bankruptcy court will consider a motion to allow Intelsat to continue paying senior staff under its Key Executive Incentive Plan (KEIP) which – says Intelsat – “are reasonable compared to relevant benchmarks in the broader telecommunications industry”.

Perhaps, but Intelsat’s CEO Steve Spengler receives (under the KEIP scheme) $2.32 million plus various other incentive/retention awards up to a maximum of $6.97 million.

The court agreed with Intelsat’s submission that to keep the business as a ‘going concern’ that it is essential to keep senior staff on the pay-roll.

Looking at Intelsat’s direct competitors it is something of a challenge, drilling down through hundreds of pages of so-called transparent data, which often seem to be designed with deliberate obfuscation in mind. SES, in some instances, fails to break out the remuneration of its senior executives. One guide, for example, SES only gives the total annual amounts paid to all of its Executive Team in 2019 (which totals €3.8 million spread between either eight or 10 members of the Exec team depending on which part of the year a snapshot is taken) in its 2019 Annual Report. Additional to that $3.8 million, there were bonus payments of a total €2.8 million, plus other benefits (pensions and the like) to a total €2.293 million. In other words, the SES team or eight or 10 execs received a grand total in 2019 of €8.89 million or $10.05 million.

Eutelsat’s Annual Report is a model of clarity and CEO Rodolphe Belmer received a base salary last year of €650,000 plus “variable” elements of €441,870 or a total of €1.09 million ($1.23 million).

  • Intelsat’s revenues for Q1 this year were $456 million, and a loss of $219 million.
  • SES revenues for Q1 this year were €479 million, and a net profit of €51 million.
  • Eutelsat’s revenues for the same trading period (Q3-2020) were €322 million, although net profits were not individually stated.

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