After 25 years in the satellite industry, Andrew Browne can spot a company on the ascent.
So when his longtime friend Dan Goldberg, CEO of Ottawa-based Telesat, called nearly 12 months ago to inform him veteran chief financial officer Michel Cayouette was planning to retire after more than a decade on the job, Browne sensed a great opportunity in the making.
“It’s a very exciting time in the industry, particularly for Telesat,” says Browne, who was named Cayouette’s successor in mid-December.
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“The satellite industry has gone through a lot of change, a lot of disruption. I think what Dan and the team at Telesat have put together is really groundbreaking.”
One of the world’s largest satellite equipment manufacturers, Telesat has annual revenues of more than $900 million and employs 450 people around the world. The company has just embarked on an ambitious program to build hundreds of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) dishes that will hover about 1,000 kilometres in the air – more than 30 times closer than traditional satellites.
The cutting-edge LEO constellation is expected to allow Telesat to provide high-speed internet service to clients in the most remote parts of the world.
It’s a bold plan, but company officials say the LEO program could make Telesat the world’s most dominant force in satellite communications. Browne says his goal is to work with Goldberg and the rest of the firm’s executive team to help ensure that happens.
“I think what’s really exciting is continuing to develop the core business that exists today and then looking at the whole LEO opportunity, the investment, the ability to bring connectivity to parts of Canada and the globe that are not connected today,” explains the native of Dublin.
It’s probably only natural that Goldberg, OBJ’s CEO of the Year in 2019, would turn to Browne to fill Cayouette’s shoes.
The two men worked side by side for nearly a decade at Netherlands-based New Skies Satellites in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Goldberg was CEO and Browne was CFO. Together they guided the firm through two IPOs as well as a pair of sales to competitors, including New Skies’ ultimate acquisition by Luxembourg satellite maker SES.
After five years as CFO of SES subsidiary O3b Networks, Browne returned to his parent corporation in the same role in 2018. He says it didn’t take much convincing for him to rejoin forces with his old executive partner.
“Dan is a great leader,” Browne says. “I think he’s done an incredible job with Telesat and bringing it to where it is today. As an individual, he’s a great guy – just an all-around good person.”
Now, Browne and his wife Mary are looking forward to a new adventure on the other side of the Atlantic.
“We just thought that this could be a very good time in life to come,” he says. “Ottawa, the way I see, is growing and developing, and I think that will continue. We see this as a great learning opportunity. We’re very excited about that.”
People on the move
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Jacques Bourbeau has joined Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Ottawa office as an associate with its public affairs team. Bourbeau was most recently director of broadcast news content with Global News and previously served as Global’s Parliamentary bureau chief for more than a decade.
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University of Ottawa researcher Renelle Dubosq received the inaugural Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation–Indigenous awarded by Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia. A geologist and PhD student and a member of the Painted Feather Woodland Métis tribe, Dubosq is among the first to apply new 3D nanoscale imaging technologies to probe the atomic structure of pyrite, commonly known as Fool’s Gold.