Suri hires ex-Nokia CMO French to rejoin him at Inmarsat
Rajeev Suri, the new CEO of Inmarsat, has appointed Barry French as the satellite company’s chief marketing and communications officer.
Until December 2020 French (pictured) was CMO at Nokia, which Suri had headed as president and CEO until a few months earlier. Suri also promoted an existing Inmarsat executive, Jat Brainch, to chief commercial and product officer.
“I look forward to working with you to strengthen Inmarsat’s position as a customer-centric industry leader,” said Suri to his new appointments via LinkedIn.
“As the satellite industry undergoes unprecedented change, we are committed to continuous evolution — not just in our world-leading technology but also in how we interact with our customers and partners.”
Dallas-based French was at Nokia for 16 years, initially joining when its equipment business was Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture with the German electrical giant.
He was a “key member of integration steering board during [the] creation of Nokia Siemens Networks from the €25 billion merger of telecommunications infrastructure assets of Nokia and Siemens”, according to his LinkedIn biography.
Yesterday he posted: “Thrilled and looking forward to getting to work at such an amazing company.”
Inmarsat said the two appointments were “designed to place the customer at the heart of the organisation and to further enhance the company’s commercial and product capabilities”.
Suri joined Inmarsat only days ago. The company said he had been carrying out “a wide-ranging review of Inmarsat’s performance and effectiveness”.
French’s “role will be to sharpen customer focus, drive customer engagement and revenue generation to the next level, ensure Inmarsat is an effective and engaged participant in key policy discussions, and further enhance employee engagement”, said Inmarsat.
The London-based satellite company has been through a number of transitions over the past couple of decades. Originally it was an international treaty organisation designed to provide maritime communications. It was privatised in 1999 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005.
In 2019 it was bought for $3.4 billion by a private-equity consortium of Apax Partners, Warburg Pincus, the CPP Investment Board and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and its shares were delisted. Suri took up a role as advisor to Warburg Pincus in September 2020 but left this year before joining Inmarsat.
Brainch was previously Inmarsat’s senior VP of group commercial management, and will report to Suri in his new role. She will be responsible for its commercial and product strategy and roadmap, said the company. She was earlier group financial controller at Telefónica UK and head of commercial finance at T-Mobile UK.