The boss of a German technology company has apparently lost his job as a result of comments attributed to him in a WikiLeaks document.
Berry Smutny, at the time the chief executive of OHB-System, a Bremen-based builder of satellite and rocket-components, reported told U.S. diplomats that Europe’s Galileo satellite-navigation project was a stupid idea and a waste of taxpayer money.
OHB-System is a unit of OHB-Technology.
Smutny was also quoted as stating that “Galileo is a stupid idea that primarily serves French interests.” He went on to assert that Galileo was doomed for failure or would have to undergo drastic scalebacks for survival.
OHB-System is part of a group of companies that will construct Galileo's first 14 operational spacecraft. Galileo is the European Union’s flagship space program.
The meeting with diplomats was said to have occurred in Berlin in October 2009.
While Smutny denied making the statement, OHB’s supervisory board elected to fire him, in what it described as a “unanimous resolution to revoke Mr. Smutny's appointment.”
Earlier this month, OHB-System and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited received a contract valued at 566-million euros to commence the production of the Galileo constellation. The two firms fended off competition from Europe;’ largest satellite makers, EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space.
Subsequently, OHB-System garnered a 1.3-billionn-euro contract to manufacture the next generation of weather satellites for the continent.
Marco R. Fuchs, chief executive of OHB Technology, was named interim chief of the OHB System satellite building division.