Intelsat to keep headcount on par with growth

Simnikiwe Mzekandaba
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba, IT in government editor
Johannesburg, 13 Feb 2023
Rhys Morgan, regional vice-president, EMEA media and networks sales at Intelsat.
Rhys Morgan, regional vice-president, EMEA media and networks sales at Intelsat.

Multinational satellite services provider Intelsat is bullish about its future growth prospects and the staff complement needed to support this growth.

This is despite macro-economic conditions that have forced a number of global tech companies to scale down their employee headcount in recent weeks.

In an interview with ITWeb, Rhys Morgan, regional vice-president, EMEA media and networks sales at Intelsat, says the company is pretty lean in terms of personnel.

According to Morgan, Intelsat recently increased its number of employees, following the acquisition of a commercial aviation business that brought a “good number” of people into the fold.

“We’ve invested in terms of more people, and supporting key areas,” he states. “We’re still a small company in terms of overall headcount. Our view of business is that we see growth and where see growth, we need people to support that growth.”

Morgan points out that Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) significantly increased their hiring over the pandemic because people were consuming their services more than ever.

“We didn’t go on a very major hiring boom during the pandemic; we stayed pretty stable in terms of numbers. Our increase in staffing really reflects where the business is going and our increase in business in certain areas.

“Obviously, we need to run a company that’s sustainable economically and we need to make smart choices in terms of the number of people that we’ve got. I think we’re in a slightly different stage of our evolution than maybe say Google or Meta, because we didn’t go on a very large hiring campaign during the pandemic, and therefore we do not have to trim again.

“Now that the world looks slightly different, I think we are really building up for growth.”

Intelsat – the operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network – has a workforce of 2 100 people.

On the continent, the company has offices in South Africa, Kenya and Senegal, as well as people on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with its satellites providing services to media and network businesses.

In SA, it counts DStv and Sentech as partners, and works with tier one telcos, such as Vodacom, Orange, Airtel and MTN.

Morgan notes that a year ago, there was uncertainty in terms of the emergence of the pandemic and big geopolitic issues, which had a global ripple effect.

In regards to the company’s strategy within the context of some of these issues, the Intelsat VP says the focus is to act local.

“I’m specifically talking about Sub-Saharan Africa, which is to really act local by helping local companies develop their infrastructure and extend connectivity, often inland.

“We know fibre is landing on the coast, but sometimes that connectivity isn’t reaching as far inland as we’d like, so that is the kind of strategy we’re taking. Helping with that development is really playing out.

“It’s been really successful over the last 12 months, probably more successful than we’d anticipated. We had some really successful activities and wins across the continent.”

He notes Intelsat came out of Chapter 11 last year, so financially the company is in a much stronger place than a year or two ago. “We really see that acting locally offers tremendous value and we see that it’s really appealing to customers.

“I think there are still challenges out there economically with supply chain and other related factors, but what I see is that the demand for connectivity is continuing to grow. More positively, there’s recognition to extend that connectivity into more rural and distant places.

“The desire to do that is only increasing, whether that’s for improved economic outcomes, security, or anything that connectivity can drive. Governments and businesses are starting to recognise there’s tremendous opportunity there, which in turn is having a beneficial impact on the populations where that connectivity is arriving. I feel very positive about this year.”