24 February 2006
Former ESA Director General Antonio Rodotà has died in Rome on Thursday 23 February aged 70.
The ESA Council appointed him Director General starting in June 1997 and he served in this position until June 2003.
Before taking over the reins at ESA, he was director of the Space Division of Finmeccanica (Italy) and a member of the boards of several international companies as well as Arianespace.
After graduating from Rome University as an electronics engineer, Mr Rodotà began his career with Selenia (1966/80), followed by three years as head of the Compagnia Nazionale Satelliti (Italy). He then moved on to Alenia-Spazio in 1983 where he held a series of senior positions before becoming chief executive in 1995.
During his term of office at ESA, Antonio Rodotà – the first ESA Director General to come directly from industry - played a key role in many fields and was highly valued in the space communities of Europe and beyond. His fervent advocacy of international cooperation was widely recognised and he will be remembered for his fostering of the European dimension of space activities and as one of the founding fathers of Galileo, Europe’s satellite navigation system.
“Antonio Rodotà led ESA into the 21st Century. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to follow his path and to build on the foundations he laid for a renewed Europe in space”, said ESA’s present Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain, who, along with all ESA staff and contractors who knew and appreciated Antonio Rodotà, offer their deepest condolences to his family and share in their grief.
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