GEE announces new appointments and $150m cash injection

Global Eagle Entertainment logoGlobal Eagle Entertainment (GEE) has announced two new appointments at the top and a $150m cash injection from Searchlight Capital Partners, a global private investment firm.

With effect from April 1 2018, GEE says Jeff Leddy will be Executive Chairman of the company and Chairman of the Board and has appointed Josh Marks to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

Marks will also join the company’s board of directors upon his appointment as CEO. Leddy has been the CEO since February 2017 and a member of the board since GEE’s business combination with Row 44 and Advanced Inflight Alliance in 2013.

Marks joined the company in 2015 and currently serves as Executive Vice President of the company’s connectivity segment.

Ed Shapiro, outgoing Chairman of the Board, said: “We appreciate Jeff’s significant impact since stepping into the CEO role a year ago, and we are excited about Global Eagle’s positive momentum.

“Jeff sharpened the strategic vision and direction, assembled a world-class team and improved execution throughout the organisation. He built a strong foundation for organic growth and increased profitability.”

As Chief Executive Officer, Marks will be responsible for the day-to-day execution of the business.

“Global Eagle is an industry leader in passenger entertainment, off-the-grid connectivity, connectivity-enabled television and operational analytics. We combine a strong portfolio of media and content services with a global distribution network serving air, sea and land,” said Marks.

“I am privileged to serve with a team that delivers unparalleled value and reliability for our customers. We have ambitious goals, and our growth and profitability improvements are just beginning.

“We are fortunate that Jeff will continue to actively provide his strategic guidance, technical expertise and organisational insights to the team as we move forward.”

GEE has also announced that it has agreed to a significant investment from funds managed by Searchlight Capital Partners, a global private investment firm.

Searchlight will invest $150 million of new capital into GEE.

GEE expects that the net proceeds from the transaction will be approximately $142 million, after payment of fees and expenses, which it says will significantly strengthen the company’s balance sheet and liquidity.

The company intends to use a portion of the proceeds to repay the full $78 million principal balance on the company’s revolving credit facility, following which the full $85 million facility will remain available.

The company says it anticipates using the remaining proceeds for growth initiatives and other general corporate purposes.

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