There’s a new boss in town at SmartSky. David Helfgott takes over as CEO of the company, replacing Haynes Griffin. Griffin will remain as executive chairman at the company as part of the transition.
On behalf of both the SmartSky board and management, I am delighted to welcome David to our team, reflecting our longstanding company plan. His extensive technology and mobile communications experience will help us ensure that all of our operations reflect the high level of quality set by our transformational connectivity technology.– Haynes Griffin, Executive Chairman and outgoing CEO
Helfgott comes to the position with a significant background in mobile – and particularly – satellite-based communications. He most recently was CEO at phased array antenna company Phasor. Prior to that he held roles at Inmarsat Government, Cobham and SES Government.
SmartSky highlights the leadership transition as marking a shift from the company’s development and deployment stage to an operational aviation broadband communications services and products company. Helfgott’s experience with leading similarly structured businesses should prove valuable, though the recent time at Phasor was much more on the R&D side of the ledger.
In assuming the role Helffott highlights the strong patent portfolio and success SmartSky had in fending off a challenge from Gogo. He also mentions a recent $50 million financing round.
Helfgott also alludes to the dueling lawsuits between SmartSky and WSS in describing a transition of the company’s hardware supply chain.
With multiple delays to the network, the most recent pushing out to next year, SmartSky faces serous questions about its ability to deliver on the promised high-speed air-to-ground network. The technology works but getting from a handful of planes on test towers to widespread deployment has consumed tens of millions of dollars in funding over many months more than was expected.
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