German firm's CEO removed over WikiLeaks cable

January 18, 2011 12:09


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BERLIN  — A German company involved in the building of European navigation system Galileo said it has removed its chief executive after he was quoted in a cable obtained by WikiLeaks as describing the project to a US official as "a stupid idea."

OHB-System AG said late Monday that the supervisory board decided to revoke Berry Smutny's appointment as CEO. It said the firm "saw no alternative to this decision in order to effectively avert any further damage to the company."

The company has previously said that Smutny denied making the statements attributed to him in US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks that were published last week in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

OHB-System last year won a €566 million ($754 million) contract to build the first 14 satellites for Galileo, Europe's planned rival to the US Global Positioning System, or GPS.

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