Former airline exec Fredrik Gustavsson to lead Inmarsat strategy

TAMPA, Fla. — Inmarsat has named Fredrik Gustavsson, a former airline executive, as chief strategy officer in the British satellite operator’s third board appointment in three months.

Gustavsson was head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions at European airline easyJet from 2012 to 2019, where he oversaw deals including the purchase of parts of Germany’s Air Berlin.

Most recently, he was a U.K.-based managing director at global CEO advisory firm Teneo.

Fredrik Gustavsson, Inmarsat chief strategy officer
Fredrik Gustavsson, Inmarsat chief strategy officer. Credit: Inmarsat

Inmarsat said the appointment follows a wide-ranging review of the company’s operations since Rajeev Suri became CEO March 1.

Suri, who was previously CEO of Finnish telecoms infrastructure company Nokia, said Inmarsat is “well positioned to return to growth this year” in a statement. 

“My focus is on accelerating our technology leadership, driving sustained growth and strengthening the company culture,” he added.

Inmarsat no longer reports earnings after delisting from the London Stock Exchange at the end of 2019, following its sale to private equity for more than $3 billion.

Former CEO Rupert Pearce said in November 2020 that the company was fairing well in the face of pandemic-related headwinds, although revenues for its aviation connectivity business sharply declined amid a drop in commercial airline traffic.

An Inmarsat official said a new strategy following Suri’s operational review would become clearer as Gustavsson takes on his role.

However, more parts of it can already be seen in the two executive appointments Suri announced March 25, barely a month into his tenure as CEO.

Barry French, formerly chief marketing officer at Nokia, was made chief marketing and communications officer at Inmarsat. As part of the appointment, Inmarsat is consolidating its marketing, communications and government affairs functions into a single executive-level organization.

Before joining Nokia in 2006, French was vice president of corporate communications at U.S.-based United Airlines. 

Inmarsat in March also promoted Jat Brainch, previously its senior vice president of group commercial management, to chief commercial and product officer to report directly to Suri.

According to Inmarsat, the appointment will make it more customer-centric as it develops products and services for mobility and government users.

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