LightSquared CEO Steps Down

Feb 29 2012 | 4:30am ET

In the wake of the federal government's devastating decision to all but pull the plug on its planned network, Harbinger Capital Management's wireless Internet venture will replace its CEO.

Sanjiv Ahuja, who has served as LightSquared's CEO since its inception, will step down from that post, although he will remain the Reston, Va.-based company's chairman. Doug Smith and Marc Montagner, LightSquared's co-chief operating officers, will serve as interim co-CEOs for the time being.

"Sanjiv has shown great leadership in bringing the LightSquared vision to this point, including leveraging his experience in the telecom industry to sign dozens of critical partnerships across the country," Harbinger founder Philip Falcone said.

LightSquared also announced that Falcone has joined its board of directors. Harbinger has invested some $3 billion—more than half of its assets under management—in LightSquared, which earlier this month learned that the Federal Communications Commission would not approve its planned 4G network due to interference issues with global positioning systems. Falcone said that LightSquared remained "committed to working with the appropriate entities to find a solution to the recent regulatory issues," although it may be alone in believing that those issues are soluble.

Falcone himself is a subject of a Congressional investigation and has been accused by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) of offering a bribe in exchange for the end of the probe.

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