Inmarsat nabs former Nokia CMO Barry French

Inmarsat’s new CEO is busy assembling his team, hiring Nokia’s former CMO Barry French as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer (CMCO) and appointing Jat Brainich as Chief Commercial and Product Officer (CCPO).  

The company says the moves are designed to place the customer at the heart of the organization. Raveej Suri, former president and CEO at Nokia, joined Inmarsat on March 1, replacing Rupert Pearce.

Reporting to Suri, French is assigned to “sharpen customer focus, drive customer engagement and revenue generation to the next level,” as well as making sure that Inmarsat is engaged in relevant policy discussions and enhancing employee engagement. Inmarsat plans to bring together its marketing, communications and government affairs functions into a single executive-level organization.

French joined Nokia in 2006 as head of Communications, prior to which he was vice president of Corporate Communications at United Airlines and director of Corporate Communications at Dell. He left Nokia at the end of 2020.

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Brainch previously was senior vice president of Group Commercial Management at Inmarsat. Reporting to Suri, she will be responsible for Inmarsat’s commercial and product strategy and roadmap and for ensuring that the company offers "advanced, customer-centric" products and services that are designed specifically for mobility and government users.

Prior to joining Inmarsat in 2019, she held senior roles in telecom and technology brands, including Logica Group (now part of CGI), Telefonica Europe and T-Mobile (UK).

“To make Inmarsat a truly customer-centric organization, a key driver is to have the company’s marketing expertise combined under one individual at the executive level. I am therefore delighted that Barry French, a world-class marketing and communications professional, is able to join us in what promises to be an exciting and transformational journey,” Suri said in a statement. 

“I am also delighted that Jat Brainch will be taking up the vital executive-level CCPO role, which is central to our ability to successfully place the customer at the heart of everything we do. Since joining Inmarsat, Jat has made an invaluable contribution to the transformation of the business and brings with her a wealth of experience in delivering a customer-centric approach to commercial and product management,” Suri added.

London-based Inmarsat went private in December 2019, so its financial results are no longer public. In an update posted to its website at the end of 2020, the company said the maritime industry was severely affected by the pandemic, but the aviation industry suffered the worst impact. Other sectors it serves include government and enterprise.

At an event in November, Pearce reportedly said the company was doing well. “Over the last nine months, our business has proved to be highly resilient to the economic impacts of the pandemic,” he said, according to Space News. “We’re well funded, highly profitable and highly cash generative, which meant that the pandemic did not bring about an immediate liquidity crisis for us.”