Karim Michel Sabbach to Succeed Romain Bausch as President, CEO at SES

SES President and CEO Romain Bausch informed the Board of Directors that he plans to step down from his position at the next annual general meeting of shareholders in April 2014. In its meeting last week, the Board has appointed Karim Michel Sabbagh as the successor to Romain Bausch. Mr Sabbagh will join the company on September 1st as CEO Designate and, following a transition period, will officially take up the position of President and CEO on April 3, 2014.

Karim Michel Sabbagh

Karim Michel Sabbagh

Karim Michel Sabbagh, aged 49, has been a member of the Board of Directors of SES as well as of its Audit and Risk Committee since April 2011. Until recently he was a Senior Partner and served as global and regional practice leader for Communications, Media and Technology along with other leadership forums at Booz & Company which he joined in 1998. Mr Sabbagh was based in Dubai over the past 15 years. He is widely recognised for his vast expertise in the industry and for his focus on the emerging markets.

At Board and Chief Executive levels, Mr. Sabbagh has shaped and served the strategic agenda of global players in the communications, media and satellite sectors. He has led multinational teams in long-term, large-scale privatisations, international expansion, mergers and acquisitions, growth acceleration and strategy-based transformation programmes. He was also directly responsible for the structuring of global companies and played an essential role in building their capabilities over multi-year programmes.

Romain Bausch, who will turn 60 in July 2013, has been President and CEO of SES since 1995. Before joining the company, Mr Bausch had a distinguished career in the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance and occupied key positions in the banking, media and communications sectors. He was appointed in April this year to the Board of Directors of SES, where he will continue to serve as a non-executive Director.

“Romain’s decision to retire as President and CEO will bring an end to an almost 20-year tenure during which the company grew from a European Direct-To-Home Satellite System with 4 satellites into a leading satellite industry player operating a global fleet of more than 50 satellites. Romain’s vision, leadership, exceptional institutional relationship-building and commitment to the company have enabled this outstanding achievement,” said René Steichen, Chairman of the Board of SES.

“By appointing Karim Michel Sabbagh, the Board has ensured a strong succession and a flawless transition. Karim’s vast knowledge of our industry, his experience in the emerging markets as well as his management skills will further enable the company’s growth potential. We are confident that, under Karim’s leadership, SES’ management and employees will continue to drive innovation and quality of service to support our customers and business partners and create shareholder value.”

S2 Extensions Boost Satellite Performance on SES-5
SES and Newtec boost satellite efficiency in Africa. Mobile 3G networks in Africa are set to benefit from new-generation Newtec modems including, S2 Extensions technology that boost the performance and efficiency of the SES-5 satellite backhaul infrastructure.

SES has tested and implemented the Newtec MDM6000 Satellite Modems to increase the efficiency on its African SES-5 payload. The MDM6000 satellite modems are optimized for medium to high speed IP applications over satellite and are capable of delivering up to 37% in efficiency gains compared with the existing DVB-S2 standard, thanks to S2 Extensions. SES is one of the first satellite operators commercially using S2 Extensions.

The MDM6000 modems handle up to 380 Mbps bi-directionally. In this instance, the SES operated link transmits at 250 Mpbs over satellite, with the option to ‘pay as they grow’ in terms of demand.

“Fiber bridges the digital divide between the western world and Africa,” says Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, SVP for SES in Africa, “but does not bridge the digital divide within Africa between urban and non-urban areas. This new technology boosts the performance of satellite power which transcends geographic challenges to provide that vital last mile connectivity in Africa.”

Speaking about the project, Newtec’s CEO Serge Van Herck comments: “I am pleased that by implementing our MDM6000 modems with S2 Extensions, SES and its customers are able to increase the amount of services within the same bandwidth, while reducing OPerational EXpenditure (OPEX) and increasing profitability. This is guaranteeing the best performance and optimal service availability for their 3G network.”

The satellite industry reached a consensus on the fact that a successor to the DVB-S2 standard would be required to accommodate increased interoperability and growth in the satellite communications market. Newtec has taken the lead and teamed up with other DVB members to define and develop the updates on the DVB-S2 standard. When comparing the current DVB-S2 standard against the full implementation of S2 Extensions efficiency gains up to 37% can be achieved.

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