Wednesday 24 February 2021 2:14 pm

Inmarsat appoints former Nokia boss as its new chief executive

British satellite giant Inmarsat today said it has appointed former Nokia boss Rajeev Suri as its new chief executive.

Suri, who stepped down as president and chief executive of the Finnish telecoms giant in 2020 after six years at the helm, will take up the position next month.

Read more: Nokia growth knocked by losing part of Verizon 5G contract

He will replace Rupert Pearce, who has led Inmarsat since 2012 and worked at the satellite firm for 16 years.

Inmarsat said Pearce had made a “significant contribution” to the company, including launching the world’s first global mobile broadband service.

Suri is a well-known name in the telecoms sector, racking up 25 years’ experience at Nokia.

During his time in charge the company grew to become one of the second largest telecoms infrastructure providers alongside Huawei and Ericsson.

It comes as Inmarsat, which offers wifi services to the aviation and shipping businesses, battles the impact of the pandemic on its mobile communications services amid a slump in travel over the last year.

The company, which was listed in London before its $3.4bn takeover by private equity firms including Apax Partners and Warburg Pincus in 2019, has racked up significant debts, including drawing down a $278m loan last year.

Read more: BT in talks with Oneweb over satellite broadband rollout

It is also battling fresh competition from rivals such as Oneweb, which was rescued from bankruptcy by the government last year.

But the Old Street-based firm said it was continuing to invest in its technology, with further satellite launches scheduled for the end of the year.