Gerry O’Sullivan, Eutelsat’s EVP/Global TV & Video, has left the satellite operator to take on new opportunities nearer his UK home. He has been in the post at Eutelsat since 2017, commuting to and from its Paris office from his London home — Eutelsat staff have been informed of his departure via an internal announcement.
O’Sullivan was instrumental in launching a range of new innovations for Eutelsat’s Video Business Unit, including the highly innovative Cirrus, and Eutelsat’s recently launched SAT.TV EPG which has now been extended from its Middle East service to HotBird. He was also responsible for the Fransat platform and that service’s now 2 million user base.
O’Sullivan’s broadcasting career included spells at the BBC, Fox News and ABC and importantly at BSkyB (2000-2010) as Director/Strategic Product Management, and responsible for a team that introduced Sky+HD and Sky’s VoD and Catch-Up services. From 2011 to 2013 he was SVP/Global TV and Entertainment at Deutsche Telekom and responsible for developing its global media business. At Digicel Group, he devised strategies on cloud-based multi-screen consumer propositions and steered the launch of IPTV across the Caribbean. He also served on the board of Piksel, an innovative cloud-based video services company.
However, his departure — and that of Markus Fritz (EVP/Commercial Development/Strategic Partnership) a few weeks ago — might be seen as a worrying trend. While Eutelsat’s arch-rival SES has been trimming headcount and closing offices, Eutelsat can ill-afford to lose talented staff from its executive tier. Sullivan had frequently spoke of the satellite industry’s need for video innovation to transform what is – at best – a stagnant video segment.
Also being reported is that Bharti Global’s MD, Shravin Mittal, son of Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal, speaking to India’s Economic Times, stated that Bharti is now planning how it will enter the giant Indian market.
Mittal says that OneWeb is on track to secure the regulatory approvals and permissions to launch a service in India. However, what is not yet settled is whether Bharti will launch its own OneWeb service direct to users (probably via Bharti’s Airtel business) or tap commercial partners. The options could include creating a joint-venture.
Sunil Mittal is on record as saying that OneWeb will start offering broadband services by May/June 2022 and would initially focus on remote areas and those parts of India that remain unconnected.
The next batch of OneWeb satellites will launch in mid-December and take the number of satellites in orbit to more than 100.