End of an era for SES

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The announcement that Ferdinand Kayser (CEO, SES Video division) and John Purvis (Head of Legal/General Counsel) are stepping down from their senior roles also brings to an end another ‘Luxembourg connection’ for SES.  Chairman of the Board Romain Bausch is a Luxembourger, of course, as are some of the other Board members. But Kayser’s departure leaves Evie Roos (head of Human Resources) as the only other Luxembourger on the SES executive team.

It is also a sign that Steve Collar’s plans to trim SES staffing, as part of his “Simplify and Amplify” programme, by 10-15 per cent is affecting senior figures as well as the general workforce.

Kayser is a 20-year staffer at SES and prior to his appointment held senior positions at RTL Group, the Kirch Group/Premiere Medien and CLT/UFA. In addition to his current position he is also a director at YahLive and president/CEO at SES ASTRA. He has been at Betzdorf since 2002. He steps down fully at the end of the year.

Although not at SES at the very beginning of its life (Astra 1A was launched in 1988) he inherited a solid ‘cash cow’ of a business. Bausch and his team, which included Commercial and Marketing Director Yves Elsen, had sold satellite transponder space at premium prices and helped build significant cash balances. These enabled SES, under Bausch and Kayser, to acquire the likes of GE Americom, New Skies Satellites and other operators over the following years.

Purvis joined SES in 2001 as part of the company’s acquisition of GE Americom.

Kayser will retire at the end of the year. However, Collar will assume responsibility for the SES Video division from July 1st.

Thai Rubin, SES’s EVP/Legal Services, will become the Chief Legal Officer as of July 1st 2020, while Purvis will stay on as a part-time member of the SES legal team reporting to Rubin.

The wider picture, with redundancies and office closures around the world, is seen by many as part of the SES plan to prepare SES Network’s for spinning off as a separate business.

There are also regular rumours that SES Video might end up merging with Paris-based Eutelsat, currently its main rival in Europe.


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