Dish hires Telstra veteran Alagappan as new CTO

Dish Network
The appointment of Alagappan comes nearly one year after former CTO Vivek Khemka left Dish for Liberty Latin America. (Dish Network)

Dish Network has hired Kannan Alagappan, who previously served as chief technology officer and head of technology for Australian telco Telstra, as its new CTO.

Alagappan will run Dish Technologies, the group that sets the company's technology strategy, oversees its software and hardware engineering initiatives, and manages the organization's broadcast and satellite operations. He’ll report to Dish President and CEO Erik Carlson.

"Kannan is an incredible strategist, technologist and an inspiring leader," said Carlson in a statement. "As Dish continues to deliver the best technology experience for our customers, and as we pursue our entry into the wireless industry, I'm confident Kannan's vision and leadership will prove transformative for our organization."

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Alagappan has an extensive background in software engineering and cloud infrastructure. He comes to Dish as the company is ramping up efforts to build a 5G wireless network. Dish said it’s making progress in building its narrowband IoT network but the company is up against the clock. The company must be able to prove by March 2020 to the FCC that it can provide wireless service to 70% of the U.S. population using its 700 MHz and AWS spectrum.

The appointment of Alagappan comes nearly one year after Vivek Khemka, former executive vice president and chief technology officer at Dish, announced he was leaving the company and joining Liberty Latin America as senior vice president and chief technology and product officer.

Alagappan’s appointment is the second major hire that Dish has announced this month. On July 2, Dish promoted Paul Orban, the company's senior vice president and chief accounting officer, to the role of chief financial officer. In November, the company hired Suma Nallapati as its new chief digital officer.