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Wikileaks syndrome affects Galileo project

Germany: Berry Smutny, Chief Executive of OHB-System, has lost his job because of Wikileaks. He was reported in a Wikileaks’ cable to have told US diplomats that Europe’s Galileo satellite-navigation project was a “stupid idea”.

OHB-System, a German Company, is part of the consortium that will build Galileo’s first 14 operational spacecraft. Although Smutny has denied the cable’s contents, OHB’s board has decided to remove him from his post.

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

The cable, which was published by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, quoted the OHB-System chief as saying, “I think Galileo is a stupid idea that primarily serves French interests”, and, in particular, French military interests. Smutny was further reported to say that Galileo was “doomed for failure” or would “have to undergo drastic scalebacks for survival”.

OHB-System and UK-based company Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) were awarded a contract valued at 566m euros (GBP 465m) in January 2010 to start the production of the Galileo constellation.

Marco Fuchs, who is currently the CEO of the parent company OHB Technology, will be assuming the position of CEO of OHB-System.

Source: OHB-System & BBC