In October 2009, Inmarsat announced that Andy Sukawaty would stay as Chairman and CEO until September 30, 2011, and then move into the role of Chairman until at least September 30, 2012. Typically, Inmarsat has announced personnel changes at the top of the company as much as a year in advance, such as when Michael Butler stepped down from his role as President of the company in April 2009. Inmarsat has also just undertaken various changes of responsibility related to establishing its new Global Xpress business, which will be based in Switzerland. As a result, it appears logical that Inmarsat may announce in the near future who is expected to take over as CEO next year, perhaps even as soon as Inmarsat’s Q3 results call on Monday.
If this happens, it will be very interesting to see if Inmarsat goes outside the company or promotes an internal candidate. Several people in the MSS industry have suggested that Jim Parm, the CEO of Stratos, could be a potential internal candidate, although this might raise concerns amongst other distributors about whether Stratos will be managed at arms length in the longer term. However, earlier this year, Andy Sukawaty indicated in an interview that Inmarsat was “seeking talent” in “senior general management roles”, noting that the recession had made “even C-suite executives available”. There are few obvious external candidates for the Inmarsat CEO position in either the MSS or FSS industry, but more possibilities in the US defense sector or perhaps even the wider telecoms sector. It certainly seems plausible that a defense executive could potentially be a good match for Inmarsat, given that Global Xpress will further reinforce Inmarsat’s dependence on the US DoD as its leading customer.