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Iridium CEO breaks orbit

Ailing satellite phone network loses second senior exec -- more to follow as debt deadline beckons?

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Iridium CEO Edward Staiano has quit the troubled satellite phone company -- the second senior executive to leave it in the last two months. According to the company, Staiano resigned after falling out with Iridium's board over the company's strategy. Over what part of the company's gameplan CEO and board disagreed is not yet known, but it's hard to imagine it didn't have something to do with how the satellite phone provider can improve the performance of its network sufficiently to begin attracting customers. Certainly the reports reaching The Register suggest Iridium is having a very tough time persuading mobile phone users to buy into its expensive global service. Back in February we were told to expect some major announcements on the shipment of Iridium phones, made by Motorola and Kyocera and distributed by Brightpoint, into the UK and Europe. We've heard nothing from the company since, and have yet to see any real evidence that phones are shipping over here. Another problem facing the board is the upcoming deadline on its $800 million debt. At the end of March, the company was given a 60-day waiver on its debt repayment, so Iridium will have to stump up some money by the end of May. Iridium's gameplan predicted the company would be turning over $4 million through sales of subscriptions to 27,000 users. All the signs are it's no way near those targets. No wonder Iridium's CFO, Roy Grant, bailed out last month. No wonder, too, that Staiano has chosen to do the same. ® See also Iridium losing some protons Tri-band Motorola phone fit for a secret agent

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