Appointments

Former TDC exec Eva Berneke to be CEO of Eutelsat

Eva Berneke Eutelsat CEO.jpg

Former telecoms executive Eva Berneke is to be the CEO of Eutelsat from 1 January, the company announced last night.

She replaces Rodolphe Belmer, who was named in October to take over as CEO of one of its customers, the troubled French technology group Atos.

Berneke (pictured) spent nearly seven years with Danish incumbent TDC after 14 years as a consultant and then a partner at McKinsey, including 10 years in its Paris office.

She has been CEO of KMD, a Copenhagen-based IT and software company, but left that role in July 2021 after seven years. KMD is part of the Japanese group NEC.

Berneke will be co-opted as a member of Eutelsat board.

She said: “As one of the world’s leading satellite operators, Eutelsat’s innovation track record, its exceptional suite of in-orbit assets, and its solid financial position, mean it is strongly positioned to be among the successes in the Space Sector in the years ahead.”

Dominique D’Hinnin, chairman of the board of directors of Eutelsat, said: “It is my great pleasure to welcome Eva Berneke to Eutelsat. She brings to us an unparalleled skillset combining deep experience of both the telecoms and technology sectors at an international level as well as a proven and successful track record in transforming businesses in rapidly changing, highly technical, and regulated markets.”

At TDC, Berneke, who trained as a mechanical engineer at DTU, the Technical University of Denmark, was chief strategy officer and, at different times, head of wholesale and head of TDC Business.

She takes over just months after the board of the French company rejected a $3.2 billion takeover bid from billionaire telecoms investor Patrick Drahi.

Meanwhile Eutelsat will also be the second largest investor in London-based low Earth orbit (LEO) company OneWeb, behind India’s Bharti group. Eutelsat is set to have a 22.9% stake, as soon as the investment is approved by regulators.

Elsewhere in the European satellite industry, London-based Inmarsat is due to be bought by US-owned Viasat. In the US, Intelsat CEO Steve Spengler is due to retire, but the company has not yet announced a successor.

D’Hinnin said of Berneke: “Along with my Board colleagues, I am confident Eva is the right person to lead Eutelsat’s transition towards the connectivity businesses by executing its telecoms pivot and leveraging its investment in OneWeb.”

Berneke added: “I am hugely excited to join Eutelsat at this compelling stage in its development. … I look forward to working with the board, management, and all our Eutelsat colleagues to ensure we maximise the potential of this great company for the benefit of our customers and broader stakeholders.”

 

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