Loral Chief Resigns from ViaSat Board of Directors

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Satellite broadband service provider ViaSat Inc. on Feb. 27 said Loral Space and Communications Chief Executive Michael B. Targoff had resigned from the ViaSat board of directors.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Carlsbad, Calif.-based ViaSat said Targoff had also resigned from his positions on all ViaSat committees.

The resignation was not unexpected.  ViaSat filed suit against New York-based Loral’s satellite manufacturing division, Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., on Feb. 1 accusing the manufacturer of stealing ViaSat intellectual property related to high-throughput broadband satellites.

ViaSat said attempts to resolve the suit amicably before serving the lawsuit had gone nowhere.

Targoff and ViaSat Chief Executive Mark D. Dankberg had said in separate interviews that Targoff’s continued presence on the ViaSat board was likely untenable given the lawsuit. Targoff has strongly denied the ViaSat allegations.

Targoff had been a member of ViaSat’s board since 2003. The ViaSat statement said his resignation was effective Feb. 24. That same day, Targoff exercised options to purchase 20,000 ViaSat shares at a price of between $22.00 and $23.12 per share, and sold them at prices of between $45.15 and $45.46 per share.

Attending the World Space Risk Forum Feb. 28, Space Systems/Loral President John Celli said his company would fight the ViaSat lawsuit and defend its reputation.

“We’re making a lot of lawyers a lot richer than they were,” Celli said, referring to the ViaSat lawsuit. “We have been in business almost 55 years and we have built some 240 satellites. During all that time, our interest has been to maintain a customer focus, and that includes their intellectual property. We have meritorious defenses against the lawsuit, and counterclaims that we will use.”

 

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