Issue 3 2024

CEO MONTHLY / ISSUE 3 2024 18 Kyle Whitehill: People Champion Guiding Kyle Whitehill in his day-to-day work is the following mantra: “At the end of the working day, do you feel you earned your salary?” He elaborates, “When you get on the train or in your car, do you genuinely believe ‘I earned my salary today?’ And it doesn’t just mean doing ten or eight hours, it means more like, ‘Did I do something that made me think, ‘I definitely covered my salary by making that decision or by being there?’’ That can be anything from helping a salesperson to close a deal, to helping HR make a good decision in hiring, or just something you feel good about.” For Kyle, it is all about making an impact. From the work he does internally with his Jan24269 For Kyle Whitehill, customer focus is number-one. He believes that, as CEO of satellite services and solutions provider, Avanti Communications, it is important to be the voice of the customer, whether they live in Africa, Europe, or the Middle East. At the time of speaking to Kyle, he has a number of trips lined up to see his customers around the world: from Turkey to Luxembourg to Kenya to South Africa. With three decades’ experience working across established and emerging markets across these regions, he is undeniably good with people, and “driven by diverse ideas, dialogue, and a collective love of competition”. In our conversation with Kyle, it becomes quickly clear just how worthy he is to be named Most Influential CEO 2024 - UK (Satellite Communications). team to reaching out across borders to change customers’ lives for the better. Kyle tells us how when he took on the role of CEO at Avanti six years ago, the company was very good at technology, but it wasn’t so good at customer service. Kyle brought to the table the principle that the customer is paramount – therefore, it was time the Avanti team were upping their game and unfalteringly supporting each customer in being their very best. Kyle tells us, “20 years ago, satellite would have been the only way rural communities in emerging countries, particularly Africa, could gain connectivity. The core purpose of the company [Avanti] is to say, ‘It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing, we’re going to bring the internet to you and help you’. We install a cell site, we use a satellite to deliver connectivity and bring voice and text and data to that rural community for the first time. And it is heart-warming. You see videos of people singing and dancing because they can now actually communicate effectively.” “Primarily, the purpose of Avanti is to help people to be more amazing.” Founded in 2002, Avanti is a pioneering company dedicated to connecting people, communities, and businesses through its HYLAS satellite fleet. By leveraging satellite technology, Avanti can create bespoke connectivity solutions that protect communities and unlock opportunities for its customers all over the world. In 2010, it was the first British commercial company to launch a ka-band satellite, and, by 2023, it had become a global multi-orbit provider of fully integrated connectivity services and solutions. Today, the company owns and operates a fleet of high-throughput satellites with cutting-edge steerable capacity and a secure and resilient ground network. Avanti has come a long way since it was first established just over two decades ago, and now 70% of its satellite covering is over Africa, with 75% of its total investment being in the region. This means it can deliver costeffective, high-performance 2G, 3G, and 4G connectivity to millions of people in remote and ultra-remote areas that would otherwise be impossible to reach using traditional terrestrial infrastructure. With this comes access to vital resources and opportunities, including healthcare, financial services, ecommerce, and education, improving quality of life and economic prospects so communities can truly flourish. Already, it is clear to see how passionate Kyle and the Avanti team are about helping people. This extends further to the company’s digital education programme, iMlango, which has been running for nine years. It commenced as a matched-funding ‘Girls Education Challenge’ project, in co-operation with the British Government to help marginalised children in Kenya to access education. Since 2021 when the Government funding ended, Avanti have continued to spearhead the programme with plans to roll out in other countries across Africa. The programme involves software which has proven to accelerate a child’s learning by three-times. This means six months of learning can increase a child’s maths age by 18 months. Most Influential CEO 2024 - UK (Satellite Communications)