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The former president and CEO of Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES has been appointed chief executive officer of UAE cyber-security firm DarkMatter. Karim Sabbagh will become CEO of DarkMatter starting in April, while the company's founder, Faisal Al Bannai, will assume the role of Managing Director, and will continue to lead its strategic direction and oversight.

"Our vision and goals are ambitious and exponential," said Al Bannai. "As we have set our foothold in UAE, and begun to plan for regional and global expansion, the company will continue to evolve to support its vision, and build its competencies. We have attracted exceptional talent from inception, and with every addition, we have strengthened our ability to achieve our goals."

Al Bannai said there are still many things to be achieved, and not enough time in the day, hence the "decision to split the leadership role into that of CEO and of Managing Director". He said the separation will allow him to focus on the strategic direction and oversight of the firm as the Managing Director, while the new CEO will take responsibility for the business.

"It took some time to find the right fit, and I believe we have found in Karim Sabbagh an outstanding professional who will make a great addition to DarkMatter and will bring an additional set of skills and experiences to support the firm's vision," Al Bannai said.

Prior to joining SES, Sabbagh spent more than 15 years working in management consultancy with Booz & Co (Strategy&, Booz Allen Hamilton). At the time of his departure from Booz & Co in 2013, Sabbagh was a Senior Partner and a global practice leader for communications, media and technology.

While at Booz & Co, Sabbagh shaped and served the strategic agenda of global players in the communications, media and technology sectors. He led end-to-end multinational teams in long-term, large-scale privatizations, international expansion, mergers and acquisitions, growth acceleration and strategy-based transformation programs.

"DarkMatter is a remarkable organization that is truly living its goal to disrupt the cyber security market by taking a new approach to the way in which nations, organizations and individuals are secured against cyber threats," said Sabbagh.

He said it is exciting to return to the "vibrant Middle East region" having spent a number of years away, and to "lead one of only a handful of full-service cyber security firms present in the world today. I look forward to contributing to building a global cyber security powerhouse in arguably the most significant industry of our time."

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