His first task as Nokia CEO was to revive the company. Here are 5 lessons he learned in the process

His first task as Nokia CEO was to revive the company. Here are 5 lessons he learned in the process

Inmarsat CEO Rajeev Suri shares his career-defining lightbulb moment with CNBC's "My Biggest Lessons."
Thu, Jun 2 20222:55 AM EDT

Rajeev Suri had been a long-time Nokia veteran before he was tapped to become the Finnish telecommunications company's CEO in 2014. 

However, the company he took the helm of was no longer at the top of its game. Nokia had lost its title as a dominant player in the mobile phone space and was at the beginning of a dramatic turnaround. 

"Back when we were trying to revive Nokia through the revival of Nokia's infrastructure business, our profit was zero, our revenues were declining 21%," Suri told CNBC "Make It." "But we had a team that really lived that shared goal of success to revive the company and to bring it back to its days of glory." 

Suri attributes the success that followed to "a star team, not a team of stars." 

"We took that annual profit that we had, a time of zero in 2009 to, well, more than $2 billion some years later," he said. 

Now, Suri is just over a year into his new role as CEO of Inmarsat, a British satellite communications company. Building a "dream team" was one of his top priorities. 

"I brought in about a third of the team from outside," he said. "The rest of the team had a lot of deep space sector knowledge, but we brought in people from the outside where we needed the greatest change. The task here at this company is not a turnaround or revival, but it is about doing great, new things." 

Suri and his team hit the ground running. Inmarsat announced it was combining with global communications company Viasat in November 2021 and launched two new technology solutions in under six months. 

"Ensure that team is better than you in every respect in every field because that's how you create greatness in a company," Suri said. 

This is just one of five of Rajeev Suri's biggest lessons. Watch the video above for more.