LightSquared Chief Executive Resigns

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WASHINGTON — Embattled mobile broadband startup LightSquared said Feb. 28 that Sanjiv Ahuja has resigned as its chief executive but will continue to serve as chairman of the board.

LightSquared, whose plan for a network serving North America was nixed by U.S. regulators over GPS interference concerns, named Doug Smith, currently the company’s chief network officer, and Marc Montagner, the chief financial officer, as its interim chief operating officers.

Philip Falcone, whose hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners has invested approximately $3 billion in LightSquared, has been appointed to the board of directors. LightSquared said it has begun a search for a new chief executive.

Ahuja’s resignation follows the recent decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revoke LightSquared’s provisional license to build out the ground-based segment of its L-band network, which also includes a large satellite already on orbit. The FCC took that action after tests showed that the Reston, Va.-based company’s terrestrial towers would interfere with a plethora of GPS applications, including aviation safety.

LightSquared has since laid off 45 percent of its work force, according to a source close to the company.

In a statement, Falcone said LightSquared remains committed to finding a solution to what he characterized as the company’s “recent regulatory issues” while protecting critical GPS applications. “I am confident that working together, we can solve this problem and bring the American consumer the lower priced 4G wireless alternative they need and deserve,” he added.

 

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