Com Dev International Inc., a Cambridge, Ont.-based satellite and aerospace manufacturer, replaced its chief executive officer, shed 81 employees and announced it lost money.

Com Dev announced Wednesday Mike Pley is replacing John Keating as CEO. On Thursday it announced it lost $1.7 million during the three months ending July 31.
Although net earnings for the past nine months were $4.6 million on revenues of $169 million, its quarterly revenues dropped from to $52.3 million, from $61.5 million during the same period in 2009.

Although Com Dev does not assemble complete satellites, its subsystems are used in satellites for communications, science, remote sensing and the military. Its products include Ka Band antennas for communications satellites.

A corporate press release stated Keating resigned both as CEO and from his position on the board of directors.

The chairman of the board, Terry Reidel, was quoted in the press release as expressing “gratitude” for Keating’s contribution and stating the board “was of the view a new vision was required at this time.”

Keating joined Com Dev in 1992 and was appointed CEO 10 years later. On his biography on the company Web site, Com Dev stated under Keating’s leadership he
“laid the foundation to establish new businesses in microsatellites and data services.”

Pley, who has worked at Com Dev since 1983, is now interim CEO. He was president of Com Dev space from 2001 until 2008, and took electrical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

In a press release Pley stated:  “We believe our core strategy is sound and our long-term opportunities are very promising … We are currently feeling the effects of several underperforming programs which will largely be completed within the next few quarters, and reduced funding availability in the near term from the Canadian government for new programs. In order to mitigate their impacts on the financial performance of the Company, we've taken actions in Q3 and the early part of Q4, including the decision to exit certain commercial electronics products which have not been consistently profitable, and to take steps to right-size the resources across the Company …

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