TAMPA, Fla. — SES has found its next CEO from outside the space sector with the appointment of Adel Al-Saleh, head of German telco Deutsche Telekom’s IT services subsidiary who will lead the multi-orbit operator from February.
Al-Saleh is replacing Guy Pinto, the operator’s former chief technology officer who stepped into the role just weeks after Steve Collar announced his surprise resignation in June.
Pinto will remain a member of the Luxembourg-based company’s executive team until June 2024, when he will assume the position of strategic advisor to the CEO.
Milton Torres, who succeeded Pinto as chief technology officer on an interim basis, is staying in the role.
Al-Saleh has been CEO of Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems International since 2018, helping digitize communications infrastructure to transform the company into a more integrated IT services provider.
He has also spent nearly two decades in multiple senior leadership roles with IBM, culminating in 2006 as vice president and general manager of sales and industries for the IBM Northeast Europe Integrated Operating Team.
In 2007, he joined healthcare-focused IT firm IMS Health (now IQVIA) as president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and was later named its president for the United States.
In 2011, he was made CEO of Northgate Information Solutions to help reshape the human resources-focused IT provider’s strategy following its sale to private equity firm KKR.
A citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, Al-Saleh earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Boston University, and he received his Master of Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University.
SES’s decision to appoint a CEO from outside the space industry follows Eutelsat’s move nearly two years ago to bring in Eva Berneke, formerly head of Danish IT and software company KMD, to lead the French satellite operator.
Both SES and Eutelsat are keen to integrate more of their space businesses with terrestrial telecoms infrastructure in a fast-evolving satellite communications market.
Karim Michel Sabbagh, who led SES from April 2014 to April 2018 when he was replaced by Collar, also joined the operator from outside the space sector, having most recently served as a senior partner for consultancy firm Booz Allen.
Al-Saleh’s appointment comes at an important juncture for SES, which is looking for ways to boost its fleet across geostationary and medium Earth orbit as around $3 billion is coming its way from successfully clearing C-band spectrum.
Pinto discussed how the operator could use this windfall in a recent Q&A with SpaceNews.