The European Telecommunications Satellite Organization was originally set up in 1977 as an intergovernmental organization (IGO) to develop and operate a satellite-based telecommunications infrastructure for Europe. It started operations with the launch of its first satellite in 1983. Initially established to address satellite communications demand in Western Europe, Eutelsat rapidly developed its infrastructure to expand coverage to additional markets, such as Central and Eastern Europe in 1989, and the Middle East, the African continent, and large parts of Asia and the Americas from the 1990s.Eutelsat was the first satellite operator in Europe to broadcast television channels direct-to-home. It developed its premium neighborhood of five Hot Bird satellites in the mid-1990s to offer capacity that would be able to attract hundreds of channels to the same orbital location, appealing to widespread audiences for consumer satellite TV.With the general liberalization of the telecommunications sector in Europe, the IGO’s operations and activities were transferred to a private company called Eutelsat S.A. in July 2001.
Since 2005, Christian Roisse has headed the European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT IGO), a Europe-wide intergovernmental organization with 49 Member States. He was reappointed for a second mandate in 2009.
Prior to this, he was General Counsel of Eutelsat S.A., the world’s third largest satellite operator, overseeing the legal activities of the company through the first 4 years of its operations as a French national law company.
As Legal Adviser and subsequently General Counsel of EUTELSAT from 1988 to 2001, he played a key role in the restructuring of the organisation and the transfer of its commercial and operational activities to the French national law company, Eutelsat S.A. which was established for this purpose.
From 1977 to 1988, he was Legal Adviser to France Telecom and Counsellor to the Head of the General Directorate for Industry in the French Industry Department.
Christian Roisse holds a Master’s degree in law, a postgraduate diploma in Public Law, is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and of the European Centre for Space Law and a Board Member of the Association pour le Développement du Droit de l’Espace en France (ADDEF). He sits on the Boards of Directors of Eutelsat S.A. and Eutelsat Communications S.A. as Censeur.