Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Galileo CEO Berry Smutny Removed Due to Wikileaks Issue

The chief executive of one of Germany's leading space companies has lost his job because of the Wikileaks saga.

OHB-System's Berry Smutny was reported in a cable to have told US diplomats that Europe's Galileo satellite-navigation project was a "stupid idea".

Bremen-based OHB-System is part of the consortium that will build Galileo's first 14 operational spacecraft.

Although Mr Smutny has denied the cable's contents, OHB's board has decided to remove him from his post.

A company spokesman told BBC News that Mr Smutny had left OHB-System with immediate effect.

A statement from OHB-System on Monday said its supervisory board had "passed a unanimous resolution to revoke Mr Smutny's appointment", adding that it "disapproves these conversations and the quotes attributed to Mr Smutny".

The CEO of OHB-System AG, Berry Smutny, has been suspended with immediate effect. After the General Assembly of OHB-System has voted to remove the confidence, the Supervisory Board passed a unanimous resolution to revoke Mr. Smutny’s appointment to the position of CEO of the company. This was in response to the fact that over the past few weeks the Norwegian daily “Aftenposten” had repeatedly published and commented on documents recording the contents of a conversation between Mr. Smutny and diplomats at the US embassy in Berlin. The Supervisory Board disapproves these conversations and the quotes attributed to Mr. Smutny.

The General Assembly and the Supervisory Board saw no alternative to this decision in order to effectively avert any further damage to the company on the part of customers, political representatives and the public at large. Marco R. Fuchs, the CEO of the parent company OHB Technology AG, will additionally be assuming the position of CEO of OHB-System AG until further notice and will share the duties of Mr. Smutny with the Members of the Management Board, Dr. Fritz Merkle and Frank Negretti.

On behalf of the Company, the Supervisory Board thanked Mr. Smutny for the work that he had performed over the past 18 months, particularly stressing the fact that last year had been the most successful in the company’s history.

Contact for media representatives:

Steffen Leuthold
Corporate Communications Manager
Press spokesman


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