Eutelsat appoints new head for US operation as OneWeb deal nears

Eutelsat appoints new head for US operation as OneWeb deal nears

Richard Mortellaro.jpg

Satellite company Eutelsat has appointed former EchoStar executive Richard Mortellaro as president and CEO of Eutelsat America.

He will succeed David Bair, also a former EchoStar executive, who is retiring, but the appointment comes as Eutelsat is in the middle of an agreed takeover of OneWeb, the UK-based, Indian-controlled project to build a broadband low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network.

Mortellaro (pictured) said: “I look forward to leading [Eutelsat America] during this exciting time in our industry as we execute Eutelsat’s vision and strategy.”

Eutelsat America is the arm of Paris-based Eutelsat that focuses on communications services and solutions for the US government and military customers around the world.

In its bumpy first few years, OneWeb has also signed deals with the US military, notably for coverage in the Arctic, which is out of range of Eutelsat’s geosynchronous (GEO) fleet of satellites. Earlier this year OneWeb appointed three former senior US national security officials to serve as members of its proxy board, to manage US government and military relations.

The takeover deal, agreed in July, is likely to see many OneWeb executives replaced by people from Eutelsat.

Mortellaro (pictured) joins Eutelsat after an extensive career spanning 30 years in the satellite industry, leading global sales, marketing and business development activities of companies.

He has been broadcast sales director at Intelsat, and then worked at Loral Skynet, which merged with Telesat in 2007.

Before joining Eutelsat, he was senior VP of sales, marketing and fixed satellite services business development activities at EchoStar.

Former CIA officer Sid Fuchs, board chair at Eutelsat America, said: “We are delighted to welcome Richard to Eutelsat America Corp, and are confident that his extensive skill-set and experience will be a great asset to us as we strengthen Eutelsat's development in the Americas region.”