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After Thirty Years of 'Nothing But Success'… This Entrepreneur Takes On a New Challenge Charles M. Fernandez, Executive Chairman and CEO of Orbsat, exemplifies the definition of the modern entrepreneur, one who is equipped to respond to the extensive challenges presented by global markets in the twenty-first century

By Kim Cherevas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Charles Matthew Fernandez is an entrepreneur and a global investor, who has overseen corporate accounting systems and regulatory agency compliance at a multitude of companies. The wide-ranging industries in which he has been immersed include broadcasting, pharmaceutical, health care, asset management, technology and e-commerce. Mr. Fernandez epitomizes the interdisciplinary qualities of an entrepreneur and CEO, demonstrated by more than 30 years of successfully executing both private and public exit strategies, and building substantial value everywhere he goes.

Throughout his career, he's prepared analytics on more than 100 mergers, acquisitions, and product development projects, inevitably elevating the companies he leads to new heights. With his unquestionable status as a restructuring expert, he's assembled an extensive network comprised of professionals who collectively leverage their business, legal, government and academic expertise.

A graduate of Florida International University, having double-majored in Finance and International Business, Charles M. Fernandez' entrepreneurial spirit was visible right from the start of his illustrious career as a pioneer in Hispanic-owned media outlets. He co-founded Viva Broadcasting in 1985, and served as CEO for 4 years. When Viva was acquired by Heftel Broadcasting in 1989, he became the Executive VP, Director, and COO, and was further honored when presented with a Marconi Radio Award by the National Association of Broadcasters.

From 1996 through 2003, Mr. Fernandez served as Director, Shareholder, and Chairman of the Audit Committee at IVAX Corporation. He contributed to the global expansion that increased the company's enterprise value to $9 billion. Subsequently, he acquired a principal interest in Lakeview Health Systems for $3 million, and became chairman in 2003. Concurrently, he co-founded Continucare Corporation in 1996, where he was Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer until 1999. Returning to his broadcasting interests in 1999, Mr. Fernandez served as the President, CEO, and Director at Big City Radio for four years.

In January 2008, Charles M. Fernandez joined Fairholme Capital Management. As President, he co-managed all three Fairholme funds, and was highly commended for bringing in a $2 billion gain for shareholders. During his tenure with the firm in 2009, the Fairholme Fund was awarded "Fund Manager of the Year" by Morningstar, Inc. A 2010 Fortune Magazine article, The Megamind of Miami, dubbed Fernandez a "Restructuring Whiz". That same year, GM agreed to acquire AmeriCredit in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3.5 billion. Bruce Berkowitz, founder and co-manager of the Fairholme Fund, stated in a 2010 interview with a CNN Money reporter, that the firm's $1.4 billion return on its investment in General Growth Properties would not have been possible without Charles M. Fernandez. After Fernandez left Fairholme in 2011, he went on to found Barnstar Funds where he was CIO until 2016.

From 2015 to 2020, Mr. Fernandez was the single largest shareholder, and the co-founder and chairman of Miami's KEMPSTAR, a large-scale marketer of energy and agricultural commodities. He structured the financing to form the firm and fund its operations, and built an impressive team of seasoned commodities professionals.

Charles M. Fernandez was CEO and Chairman of eApeiron Solutions, a company that specialized in brand protection, authentic sourcing, and e-commerce. Between 2016 and 2018, he created the overall business strategy, culminating in the acquisition of certain Eastman Kodak assets. The corporate clients of eApeiron ranged from luxury businesses to large-scale consumer product companies.

Mr. Fernandez also served on the U.S. Advisory Committee for Alibaba Group, an investor in eApeiron, which enabled the company's technologies to maintain a substantial presence on global e-commerce platforms.

In early 2019, when Smartrac acquired eApeirion Solutions, they became shareholders via eApeiron Partner, LLC, which was a wholly-owned entity of Charles M. Fernandez, and he was appointed to Smartrac's Supervisory Board of Directors.

In May of 2021, he accepted a new role as Executive Chairman and CEO of Orbsat, a company in which he has become the largest shareholder. Orbital Satcom and Global Telesat Communications, their U.S. and European based subsidiaries, have delivered global satellite connectivity solutions to 50,000+ customers located in more than 165 countries.

When Charles M. Fernandez took on his role at Orbsat, he made a definitive statement: "I believe that Orbsat is ideally positioned to capitalize on the growing global importance of satellite-based connectivity which is now reshaping how individuals, enterprises, governments, and digital assets around the world connect to everything that is important. I'm looking forward to leading our team during this exciting period in our history."

Interestingly, Orbsat generates approximately 70% of its revenues globally from e-Commerce channels, and is highly successful in maximizing those particular opportunities. Orbsat's e-Commerce success, along with Mr. Fernandez' background [which includes 30+ years of extensive network experience in related markets such as e-Commerce and IoT], set the stage for a strategic announcement, which was made in August 2021. Charles M. Fernandez clarifies further: "We are committed to transition the Company to a next-generation eCommerce platform company, with revenue opportunities across various highgrowth sectors of the e-Commerce space, including tangible and digital assets. In this regard, the Company will be re-branded as NextPlat Corp., which reflects the intent to add new business lines through acquisitions, joint venturing or other partnering opportunities. Orbsat will of course remain in our group."

The brilliant leadership skills of Charles M. Fernandez will undoubtedly enable the Company to navigate seamlessly through the challenges of meeting the exponentially growing demand for satellite-connected communications, e-Commerce, and IoT, fulfilling the Company's projections for the sectors that it serves in the ever-expanding global market.


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