Leadership in telecom: How Ligado’s CEO weighs his options and moves forward

Ligado CEO Doug Smith (Ligado)

This is part of an occasional series from Fierce looking at leadership and management strategies in the telecom market.

Ligado CEO Doug Smith has been tasked with moving the company from bankruptcy into success. His chosen path is to provide private networks and industrial IoT services with Ligado’s satellite, as well as with a terrestrial network the company hopes to build on spectrum that Smith expects the FCC to release soon. As Smith himself explained, it’s “go time” now for a company that has long struggled under the now-retired LightSquared banner and GPS interference issues.

Smith counts more than 25 years of domestic and international telecom and wireless industry experience, having helped build wireless networks for GTE, Nextel, Sprint Nextel and Clearwire.


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Now, Smith is charged with leading Ligado through the telecom market by deciding how to position the company and exactly which partners and customers to embrace.

Ligado’s Smith on evaluating options and making the right decisions:

This is always a balance of, you want as much information as you can. But you also need to make timely decisions. So that's always the push and pull.

The way I do it is, and certainly depending on how important the decision is, I get a lot of input. And I have a very, very experienced management team. I also have a very experienced board. I've got access to a lot of great knowledge.

So, what I like to do is, I get a lot of input.

But then at the end you just have to decide. If it's something that you can market test, that's great. But sometimes you don't always have that luxury.

You get input from management, you get input from customers, you get input from industry. And usually the decision emerges before you. Not always. And when it doesn't, you have to be able to make a decision. Sometimes you go on gut.

I like decisions to be fact-based, when you can. It is worth the time to get it, and to listen to it.

So, you surround yourself with good people, you get good input, and it makes life easier.

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