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Rupert Pearce Leaves Inmarsat, Nokia’s Rajeev Suri Takes Over as New CEO

By Mark Holmes | February 24, 2021

      Inmarsat named former Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri as CEO. Photo: Inmarsat

      Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce is leaving the company at the end of this month. He will be replaced by former Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri, who will start March 1. Pearce has led Inmarsat for just under a decade and has been of the most established leaders of a major satellite operator.

      Inmarsat’s Wednesday announcement did not provide a reason for the sudden change in leadership.

      Suri’s was president and CEO of Nokia for six years, through July 2020. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Nokia Siemens Networks for five years, a joint venture company that merged Nokia’s and Siemens’ networks businesses. After stepping down from Nokia, Suri has worked in senior advisory roles with private equity firms Warburg Pincus and Apollo Global Management.

      “I am very excited to join Inmarsat, and to work closely with such skilled people, at such an important moment for the company and the satellite communications industry as a whole. I have been very impressed by the capabilities and ambitions of the company and its partner community and wish to pay tribute to their ethos, drive and ingenuity. Together, they have established technology leadership in satellite mobility, underpinned by a unique understanding of the customer,” Suri said in a statement.

      Suri is taking over Inmarsat as it looks to navigate difficult markets in maritime and aviation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Pearce last spoke with Via Satellite in October 2020, just after announcing a major deal with Hughes Network Systems regarding In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) in North America. At that time, Pearce was bullish for the the company’s prospects across different business sectors.

      He said, “Maritime is a very mature business. It is about migrating our customers up the bandwidth curve from narrowband to broadband. That is going very well. The business is now turning the corner and starting to grow modestly. So, it is a very large business with tremendously powerful cash flow characteristics. But, it won’t grow at double digit rates because it is so mature. Aviation is much smaller, but at the beginning of a very exciting journey to become what I hope is will be at least as big of a contributor to free cash flow as our maritime business. It is nice as a business to have several shots on goal. Also, don’t forget our government businesses. We are number one in the U.S. We serve 60 other governments. There are some very big growth opportunities there as well.”