As Viasat’s top executives, Mark Dankberg and Rick Baldridge have forged a strong partnership over the years. As Chairman and CEO, Dankberg, one of the company’s founders, managed the company’s overall direction and technology while President and COO Baldridge handled operations. Now, the two have made that arrangement more formal, with Dankberg assuming a new role as Executive Chairman of the Company and Baldridge stepping into the CEO role.
Dankberg will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board for Viasat.
Presented as a seamless transition, it’s also part of a strategic alignment as Viasat grows into a global company and the need to create a long-term succession plan became more apparent.
“This represents a natural evolution and will best serve the interests of Viasat’s long-term future, as we execute against our plan to deliver ubiquitous, affordable connectivity that will help close the global digital divide,” Dankberg said. “Rick has been managing virtually all of the Company’s operations and key direct reports for several years, while I have been focused on technology innovation, industry thought leadership and regulatory issues at a time of dynamic change and opportunity within the space and broadband sectors.”
As President and CEO, Baldridge will continue his executive and operational leadership, with a focus on building and growing a customer-centric organization that will continue to deliver compelling global services and products. Baldridge will maintain his seat on the Viasat Board of Directors.
“I am honored to lead Viasat, a company that I have devoted many years to help build,” Baldridge said. “We have leading technology, strong business segments, exceptional people and the resources needed to make the Company a formidable global player in broadband communications.”
Along with his day-to-day role running the company, Baldridge will be highly focused on the execution behind Viasat’s upcoming global constellation, ViaSat-3. The constellation will expand Viasat’s reach and capabilities into new geographies and emerging vertical markets, further broadening the Company’s broadband and technology leadership positions.
Strengthening the Company’s customer-centric approach will also be a key focus for Baldridge, who’s been with Viasat for 21 years.
“Viasat is taking an important, thoughtful and strategic first step in its leadership succession planning to ensure the Company’s long-term future as a global communications leader,” said Sean Pak, lead independent director, Viasat Board of Directors. “Mark and Rick offer complementary skills, and initiating this seamless evolution at a key moment in the Company’s development, assures that our stakeholders will continue to benefit from their talents.”
Dankberg, who’s been a visionary technology driver in the satellite industry for many years, says he’s excited to focus more exclusively on Viasat’s technology vision, providing technical thought leadership and strategic oversight of the Company’s innovation roadmap and technical advocacy.
“I’m very pleased Rick has agreed to take on the CEO role,” Dankberg said. “We have built a close relationship through the years that is reflected in every part of Viasat – from our company culture, to our business strategies and operational execution. And for me personally, this is an opportunity to define a role where I can continue to contribute to our success for years to come.”
Baldridge echoed that sentiment.
“I want to thank Mark for his continued confidence and trust in what we can achieve together — we have worked hand-in-hand for quite some time dividing tasks on a situational basis. This transition gives us the chance to form a stronger structure for future succession and global growth.”
Pursuing ever more advanced technology to improve Viasat’s reach and performance is the other key part of the equation.
“In working with the Board of Directors, Mark and the global Viasat team, we will continue to embrace new and emerging technologies that enable us to elevate our customers’ experiences, extend our market leadership and deliver long-term, differentiated value for our stakeholders,” Baldridge said.
Meet Rick Baldridge