CEO, Iridium Communications
Mr. Desch, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Iridium Communications Inc., has more than 35 years of experience in telecommunications management, and more than 25 years in the global wireless industry. Joining Iridium in 2006, Desch has been responsible for leading the innovation and growth of Iridium, which includes taking the company public on Nasdaq (IRDM) in 2009, completing the financing and development of Iridium® NEXT, the company’s $3 billion investment in upgrading the Iridium network with powerful new satellites, and launching Iridium Certus®, a multi-service broadband platform enabled by the upgraded constellation. With Mr. Desch at the helm, Iridium has more than tripled in subscribers, surpassing 1 million in early 2018, and more than quadrupled its operational earnings, while moving into important new services like global space-based aircraft tracking with its joint-venture, Aireon.
Mr. Desch began his career in software development with AT&T Bell Laboratories (now a part of Nokia). Before joining Iridium, he served as the CEO of New Jersey-based Telcordia Technologies, Inc., a major supplier of software and services to the telecommunications industry, now part of Ericsson. Prior to Telcordia, Mr. Desch worked for Nortel Networks for 13 years, leaving in 2000 as President.
In 2011, Mr. Desch was appointed as a member of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). The committee provides recommendations to the President and other U.S. government leaders on matters of security that relate to the nation's telecommunications infrastructure. An active pilot, Mr. Desch serves on the board of trustees of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). He also serves on the board of Unisys, a global IT services and software firm. He formerly served as the Chairman of Airspan Networks and a member of the board of directors at SAIC.
Mr. Desch was named a “Tech Titan” by Washingtonian Magazine, is the only two-time winner of Via Satellite’s Satellite Executive of the Year award, was inducted into the Space and Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) Hall of Fame and was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year for the Greater Washington Area. Mr. Desch has also been ranked as one of the world’s most influential people in the telecommunications industry on Global Telecom Business’s Power100 list.
He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from The Ohio State University and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Chicago.