Maxar CEO details restructuring, rebranding moves

Space company Maxar Technologies is trying to turn the page on what was a challenging 2018 for them. Their CEO more details on the changes he sees ahead.

Space company Maxar Technologies is in the midst of a broad restructuring and rebranding effort as it aims to turn the page from a challenging 2018.

In a blog post published Tuesday, CEO Dan Jablonsky confirmed Maxar has reorganized itself based on business functions in a shift away from the prior structure that was primarily based on brands.

Founded in 1969 as Canada-based "MDA," Maxar launched under its current name in late 2017 through its acquisition of DigitalGlobe. Maxar is now headquartered in Westminster, Colorado, and in January completed the process to become a U.S.-based company so it could pursue more classified space contracts.

The company also has a noticeable footprint in the Washington, D.C., area with 600 of its 5,900 employees based there with offices in Herndon and Arlington, Virginia, plus Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Jablonsky, who became CEO in January, released the new outline nearly one month after an earnings call with investors where he previewed some of the changes Maxar would make to reposition itself for longer-term growth and profitability.

Last year was tough for Maxar as they saw a fast decline in its commercial satellite manufacturing business and lost a key imagery satellite used by international government agencies and commercial customers due to technical failure. Maxar was also heavily criticized by an activist investment research group over the company’s overall financial profile.

As he noted in that earnings call, Maxar will not sell the “GEO Comsat” business but instead restructure it to pursue other opportunities including those for small satellites. The rebranding into a single Maxar identity took effect in February.

The changes at Maxar also include a realignment of executive responsibilities with respect to business lines as the company moves away from the brand-focused structure.

Tony Frazier, president of the now-former Radiant Solutions brand, takes on a new role as head of global field operations with responsibility for all sales, business development, account management and service delivery across the national security and commercial customer community.

Jeff Culwell, a former DigitalGlobe executive, will lead Maxar’s product organization focused on the combined imagery, information and analytics portfolio.

Megan Fitzgerald, previously in the SSL business, will oversee Maxar’s space solutions organization that includes the vast bulk of the company's satellite manufacturing work.

Space solutions in particular is growing its emphasis on the U.S. government market, in which the business is aiming to refine and tailor many of Maxar and its heritage companies' commercial products for use by agencies.

This includes Maxar's Legion-class spacecraft bus that it is customizing for missions such as remote sensing, communications and enhanced ISR. Also key to Maxar's government strategy is the WorldView Legion constellation for earth imagery scheduled for launch in two years to replace the current three-satellite group in orbit.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story said the lost satellite served U.S. government customers.