He will succeed Andrew Slater who is stepping down after 21 years at SSL.
Watts, a chartered accountant and a former partner at KPMG was appointed finance director at SSL in February 2001.
Ian Martin, chairman of SSL, thanked Slater for his contribution to the company and welcomed Watts into his new expanded role.
In 2001 SSL was embroiled in an accounting scandal involving its former auditor Andersen. SSL enlisted KPMG to investigate the possibility that profits had been inflated by booking unconfirmed sales and Andersen was the subject of a Joint Disciplinary Scheme probe.
Andersen was replaced by KPMG in October 2001.
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