Matt Desch: A Decade of Leadership, Success, and Innovation

Matt Desch: A Decade of Leadership, Success, and Innovation

Matt Desch bagged his 10th Wash100 award in 2024. For a decade, he has propelled telecommunications, satellite, and technology industries and shaped the government contracting landscape into a future-forward domain for citizens, leaders, and the next generation.


Learn more about Matt Desch and his decade-long journey to becoming one of the foremost leaders in the technology realm and a consistent Wash100 winner.


Matt Desch: Who is he?


Photo of Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium
Photo of Matt Desch/ SpaceNews


Matt Desch is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Iridium Communications, Inc. He has taken the company’s reins since September 2006, back when it was still named Iridium Holdings LLC.


Under Mr. Desch’s leadership, Iridium recorded a total revenue of $790.7 million for the fiscal year 2023—a 10% increase from 2022’s revenue of $194.7 million. The Iridium CEO highlighted that the company delivered commercial services growth for the full year 2023. 


“Strength was broad-based with subscriber growth across all commercial service lines. Our strong cash flow supported the ongoing return of more than $310 million of capital to shareholders, including dividend payments of about $65 million in 2023,” Mr. Desch mentioned.


Moreover, Matt Desch has contributed to Iridium winning major government contracts encompassing engineering and space exploration. His dedication to enhancing the company’s capabilities and foothold in the GovCon industry reflects his evolution and contributions as an industry leader.


About Iridium


Iridium is an international satellite communications company specializing in delivering voice, data services, 5G connectivity, and satellite constellations. These services cater to various industries, such as maritime, aeronautical, defense, and public safety.


Since its founding in 2002, Iridium has poised itself to be one of the leading providers of cutting-edge technology for the US Department of Defense and international government agencies. Among its notable products is its line of low-Earth orbiting (LEO) and cross-linked satellites, which were designed for areas not reached by terrestrial communication networks.


Matt Desch’s 10th Wash100 Award


Wash100 2024 banner
Photo by Executive Mosaic


Matt Desch won another Wash100 award at the eleventh rendition of the prestigious awarding ceremony by Executive Mosaic. This accolade is his 10th recognition as Iridium’s leader.


Jim Garrettson, CEO of Executive Mosaic, was proud to grant Mr. Desch’s Wash100 award, saying, “In his more than 17 years at the helm of Iridium, Matt has set the enterprise on a nine-year revenue growth streak, propelling the company on a path toward satellite communications dominance. As Iridium celebrates its 25th year and record-breaking growth in both government and commercial markets, we celebrate Matt’s 10th consecutive year of Wash100 recognition.”


On receiving his 10th Wash100 award, Matt Desch talked about how Iridium grew from a small public company into one of the most influential satellite and communication companies.


“When first selected 10 years ago, Iridium was newly public and embarking on an ambitious $3 billion network refresh plan. Today, we’re widely recognized as a critical global resource, expanding into new areas like aircraft tracking, broadband, and satellite time and location services,” Mr. Desch said.


Click here to vote for the executives who have the most influential impact on the government contracting industry. Voting ends in late April 2024.


Government Contracts Won Under Matt Desch’s Leadership


Government Contracts Won Under Matt Desch's Leadership
Photo by Arno Senoner/ Unsplash


Matt Desch’s tenure at Iridium ushered in a period of enterprise growth and robust partnerships with the federal government.


On January 11, 2024, Iridium announced the development of Project Stardust. It is a narrowband Internet of Things that enables direct-to-device capabilities similar to 5G NTN messaging and emergency SOS. The project will be launched on existing LEO constellations and scheduled for testing between 2025 and 2026.


One of the major government contracts Iridium won in 2023 was the 10-year IDIQ agreement for the delivery of Iridium Certus L-band terminals and services to the United States Space Force. Iridium was tasked with manufacturing and providing broadband and mid-band capabilities to support military missions to extend satellite communication services on low-Earth orbit.


As a part of its decade-long constellation resilience program, Iridium introduced five additional satellites to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in May 2023 to enhance broadband services. According to Iridium, a total of 81 satellites have been built for this project, 80 of which are now deployed in space. 


The constellation resilience plan aimed to bolster the delivery of critical network services from Earth to space and vice versa.


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Written by Gayle Barnachea

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