Eutelsat seeks new CEO as Belmer goes to troubled Atos

Eutelsat seeks new CEO as Belmer goes to troubled Atos

22 October 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Eutelsat’s CEO, Rodolphe Belmer, is to leave the company to take over as CEO of one of its customers, French technology group Atos.

Atos’s board said that his predecessor, Elie Girard, was leaving “in view of the challenges facing Atos”. He goes immediately, with two acting co-CEOs in charge of the company from Monday 25 October.

Eutelsat is left looking for a new leader at a time of great challenge for it – just weeks after the board of the French company rejected a $3.2 billion takeover bid from billionaire telecoms investor Patrick Drahi.

Meanwhile Eutelsat is about to 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 23% stake, as soon as the investment is approved by regulators.

Belmer’s departure from Eutelsat comes just as its US rival, Intelsat, announced its CEO, Stephen Spengler, is to retire. He will go when Intelsat emerges from its financial restructuring process and when a successor is named.

Belmer (pictured) had been CEO of Eutelsat since March 2016 and will leave in early 2022. Atos and Eutelsat work together: in April Eutelsat selected Atos to provide a next-generation satellite payload monitoring solution. 

Eutelsat chairman Dominique D’Hinnin said: “Rodolphe has made a fantastic contribution to the development of Eutelsat during his more than five years at its helm, putting the company on the strong financial and strategic footing on which it finds itself today.”

The process of recruiting a successor will begin immediately, said Eutelsat. In the meantime, Belmer “will remain fully at the helm and focused on the development and performance of Eutelsat”, said the company.

Belmer commented: “It has been my great pleasure to lead this fantastic company for the last six years and to executing its telecom pivot. It has been an exciting time both professionally and also personally. The women and men of this company have shared with me their passion for space, their attachment to the European industry and their full commitment to the great, collective project that is Eutelsat.”

Atos, based on the edge of Paris, just a short distance from Eutelsat’s headquarters by the Seine, said it is “now gearing up to accelerate its strategy to strengthen its position in digital, cloud, security and decarbonisation”.

It said that it had chosen Belmer as CEO “after a thorough review of the major challenges for Atos in the coming years”.

Atos chairman Bertrand Meunier said: “In view of the challenges facing Atos, we have appointed Rodolphe Belmer for his strategic acumen and his proven leadership and operational efficiency, as well as his ability to successfully lead complex transformations.”