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Iridium CFO bails out

Management turns to turnaround agency for help

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Iridium CFO Leo Mondale has quit the company barely five months after taking on that role and given tacit acknowledgement to the very real difficulties the company has had sorting out its survival. "I accepted the CFO position to support Iridium's efforts to bring about an out-of-court restructuring," said Mondale. "Since this is no longer possible, it is appropriate for me to step down and let the new management team, with reorganisation experience, take over." The "out-of-court restructuring" refers to the cellphone-by-satellite company's attempts to persuade both banks and backers to give it room to reorganise its way out of trouble. The approach clearly failed, in as much as Iridium is now only safe from its creditors through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, taken out on 13 August. That said, Mondale's exit does show that Iridium's restructuring arguments may be winning the day. Mondale's successor is one David Gibson, a managing director at Alverez & Marshal, a New York-based operation the specialises in sorting out problem companies. Gibson's fellow MD, Joseph Bondi, was named Chief Restructuring Officer, by Iridium. Still, the fact Iridium needs outside help for its restructure suggests the current management team, led by CEO John Richardson (previously just interim CEO), is running out of ideas about how to turn the company round. ®

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