Ms. Horncastle was CEO of Telenor's (NASDAQ:TELN) Satellite Services operations (TSS) in Maryland leading the US operations for a number of years following the acquisition of CoMs.at Mobile by Telenor in Norway, having previously served as the CFO of TSS at the Telenor Oslo Headquarters. She has served on several Boards including that of Intelsat (Washington DC) and Inmarsat Plc in London. In 2006, Ms. Horncastle was recognized by the World Trade Center in Baltimore for her strong leadership qualities and strategic vision and awarded Maryland's 2006 International Business Leadership Award, recognizing Telenor US among all of the 150.000 companies in the State of Maryland.
Throughout the late 1970ies and during the 1980ies Ms. Horncastle held several financial, international trade and economic development related executive and management positions in both public and private sectors. She has extensive acquisition and integration experience to compliment her operational experience and has, prior to moving to Washington DC, worked with governments, international development agencies and small and large corporations in several European countries and for many years also in East and West Africa.
Ms. Horncastle is multilingual and earned a graduate degree in Political Science combined with Finance and Administration and has studied Law at the University of Oslo.
1) How did you get started in the satellite business?
I entered the industry by pure coincidence. Best way to describe what happened is what I used to tell people when they asked; "I came from a place way down South (a cement factory in worn-torn Angola)", "shot up" and landed in "space" (more specifically the satellite business in Norway).
2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?
I think the most significant changes I have been actively involved in personally and thereby seen up close, was being part of the group of people who drove the privatization of the three large satellite consortia through; Inmarsat, Intelsat and Eutelsat, where the ownership structure of the organizations changed from being a number of government owned telcos around the world to becoming private equity and publicly held stock over a very short period of time. I have to add that it will be interesting to look back 10 years from now and see what lessons we can learn from this significant change in how to manage, develop and finance global telecom infrastructure.
3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?
The most memorable and satisfying experience for me personally was to have chaired the group of lawyers, owners and customers who successfully negotiated the distribution agreement for Intelsat's services which was to take effect on the day of privatization. Over 140 countries signed the very same distribution agreement with Intelsat and it was a significant balancing act to get everyone (and all the governments involved) to agree, especially as each of us were both owners and customers and sometimes also suppliers all rolled into one. The applause amongst the delegates from more than 100 countries in Intelsat's Astrain Room the day the privatization was a fact, spoke for itself.
4) What was the greatest obstacle?
We sometimes had difficulty convincing our owners why we wanted to spend so much money on satellite(s) as we were a terrestrially focused corporation, but we never gave up and succeeded in the end (ie we grew from small to large).
5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?
I think the industry will continue to grow steadily (the world needs the internet and human beings will never stop talking) and it will involve gradually involve more people from very diverse backgrounds. Parts of the industry will become much more specialized, as sectors of the industry is a typical niche driven, but the telcos will come back in and drive more and more hybrid solutions utilizing the terrestrial fiber networks in combination with the capacity on the spacecrafts. IP is a big driver and we will need creative engineering to reach out to the masses that are still not permanently connected to the www.
6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?
IF you are young and interested in joining this industry, get involved as early as possible in your carrier, either though technical sales (if engineering is your passion) or through any organization working globally, where you have a chance to learn how important communication is to function in a global environment. The world is becoming "flatter" and that the trends are global, not regional or national. Seen from a satellite the world is very small and thus the more international / global experience you have the easier it is to see the importance of this industry for global socio-economic development.
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