£760m loss sparks Iridium revamp

Beleaguered US satellite telecoms company Iridium has slashed its marketing department, appointed a new marketing director and is planning to reposition its brand.

Iridium reported a &£760m loss on sales of &£112,000 in its annual results in February, just three months after the satellite phone service went live. It has until June 30 to restructure its debts.

The Washington-based company has cut its 550 workforce by 15 per cent, and most of its marketing department believed to have left. In April the Iridium board decided not to re-elect its senior vice-president of marketing Mauro Sentinelli after two years in the position. He has been replaced by Sue Kennedy, the company’s South African vice-president of marketing. She reports to Iridium interim chief executive John Richardson.

Kennedy took up her position three weeks ago and immediately called a conference of senior marketing staff to discuss the brand’s repositioning.

Iridium will target industrial markets such as oil and gas companies, instead of the business travellers who have been its primary intended target.

Iridium spokeswoman Michelle Lyle says: “Marketing will refocus heavily on industrial markets. We have not given up the business travellers, but feel the need to reposition through advertising in the next few months.”

Lyle says the company’s original &£85m advertising budget will be redistributed with more to be spent at regional levels and less globally.

Ammirati Puris Lintas is creating a new campaign to break at the end of this summer.

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