Global Eagle taps LaValle as topper

Belanger-Martin named vice chairman

Global Eagle Acquisition, which is moving into the inflight entertainment business, has tapped Row 44 topper John LaValle to serve as CEO.

Global Eagle also announced that Louis Belanger-Martin, CEO of Advanced Inflight Alliance, will become vice chairman.

Global Eagle, headed by longtime showbiz execs Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, announced on Nov. 8 that it was buying two companies — U.S.-based broadband service Row 44 and Germany-based content supplier Advanced Inflight Alliance — in a transaction valued at $430 million. The new entity, to be dubbed Global Eagle Entertainment, will be the public holding company for both Row 44 and AIA.

Ed Shapiro, chairman of Row 44 and AIA and chairman-designate of Global Eagle Entertainment, said, “John has done a tremendous job positioning Row 44 to extend its leadership position in satellite-based in-flight connectivity, while Louis has continued to leverage his nearly two decades of airline content experience to position AIA for the next stage of its growth.”

LaValle has served as CEO of Row 44 for the past year. He joined the company in 2007 after working at National Beverage Properties, TelASIC Communications and Kotura; he handled IPOs at Stamps.com, Trikon Technologies and Superconductor Technologies.

Belanger-Martin will continue to serve as AIA’s CEO, a position he has held since 2011. He founded DTI Software, an early participant in the inflight entertainment business.

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