Iridium Communications Inc. (formerly Iridium Satellite LLC) is a company, based in McLean, VA, United States which operates the Iridium satellite constellation system which offers truly global voice and data communications coverage. The company is a technology innovator and market leader, Iridium is advancing the way global enterprises conduct daily mission-critical activities through reliable, near real-time, communications services. Iridium's 66 low-Earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites – the world's largest commercial constellation – operate as a fully meshed network that is supported by multiple in-orbit spares.
Mr. Desch, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Iridium Communications, Inc., has more than 30 years of experience in telecommunications management, and more than 20 years in the global wireless industry. Mr. Desch joined Iridium in 2006.
He has been responsible for leading Iridium's innovation and growth, which includes taking the company public on NASDAQ and completion of the financing for the launch of Iridium NEXT, Iridium's next-generation network to begin launching in 2015. Since joining in 2006, Iridium has more than doubled in subscribers and nearly tripled its operational earnings.
Before joining Iridium, Mr. Desch served as the CEO of New Jersey-based Telcordia Technologies, Inc., a supplier of software and services to the telecommunications industry. Mr. Desch was instrumental in moving Telcordia into new wireless and international markets, and spinning off the company to private equity from SAIC, Inc. Prior to Telcordia, Mr. Desch worked for Nortel Networks as president of Nortel's fast growing Wireless Networks division from 1995 to 1999, having led its growth from $2 billion to more than $4.5 billion in annual revenue.
U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Desch as a member of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. The committee provides recommendations to the President and other government leaders on matters of security that relate to the nation's telecommunications infrastructure.
Mr. Desch also serves on the board of trustees of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). He previously served on the board of directors of a number of high tech telecom companies, including Starent Networks (now part of Cisco), Flarion Technologies (now part of Qualcomm) and Airspan Networks, as well as industry associations such as the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), The Wireless Foundation and the Personal Communications Industry Association (PCIA). He served as Chairman of the Wireless Foundation and was a member of the executive board of The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS). Mr. Desch is an active public speaker and has testified on Capitol Hill on matters related to U.S. telecommunications security and emergency communications.
Mr. Desch was named by Washingtonian Magazine as a "Tech Titan" and received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year 2011 Greater Washington Area award. He began his career in software development with Bell Laboratories, which became Lucent Technologies. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from The Ohio State University and an MBA from University of Chicago.