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LightSquared Promotes Operating Chief Smith to CEO Position

LightSquared Inc., the bankrupt wireless broadband venture, promoted Doug Smith to the job of chief executive officer and said the company would overcome the regulatory impasse that helped push it into default.

Smith, who had served as LightSquared’s co-chief operating officer and helped design its high-speed network, will also be chairman, the company said today in a statement. LightSquared, based in Reston, Virginia, filed for bankruptcy in May after U.S. regulators said its proposed network to serve 260 million people with high-speed mobile data service would interfere with GPS navigation.

“LightSquared remains committed to working with all stakeholders to find an equitable resolution to the regulatory challenges that the company has faced this past year,” Smith said in today’s statement.

LightSquared’s previous CEO, Sanjiv Ahuja, resigned Feb. 28, and Smith along with Chief Financial Officer Marc Montagner took over the co-COO job while the company searched for Ahuja’s replacement. Prior to his executive positions at LightSquared, Smith worked at Clearwire Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp.

Philip Falcone, through his hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, spent as much as $3 billion on LightSquared’s failed effort to convert satellite airwaves to a mobile data network in an attempt to build a wholesale wireless Internet service. Falcone still serves on the board of LightSquared and is a member of the executive committee, said Michael Tucker, a spokesman for LightSquared.

Prior to LightSquared’s bankruptcy, lenders had requested that Falcone step aside.

The Chapter 11 case has involved disputes with a group of lenders including Capital Research & Management Co., Appaloosa Management LP and Fortress Investment Group LLC over LightSquared’s use of cash and whether it has enough money to reorganize.

The case is In re LightSquared Inc., 12-12080, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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