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Nanovation's CEO Gets The Heave-HoNanovation's CEO Gets The Heave-Ho

Big-spending startup postpones IPO

July 18, 2000

2 Min Read
Nanovation's CEO Gets The Heave-Ho

G. Robert Tatum has been relieved of his job as president and CEO of Nanovation Technologies Inc, the big-spending Miami-based startup developing optical integrated circuits.

A statement issued by the company says that Tatum went on “indefinite leave of absence” on Friday, July 14, and that “Nanovation is currently conducting a nationwide search for its new CEO”. In the interim, the company is being run by a committee of senior managers headed by Bob Chaney, Nanovation’s erstwhile senior VP of business development and marketing, who’s been named as “acting CEO.”

What’s going on?

Officially, Nanovation says that it’s business as usual. The only thing’s that’s changed is the name on the mast head.

But one thing definitely has changed since the last time that Light Reading scoped out the company (see Nanovation Prepares the Ground for an IPO). The IPO that had been scheduled for the third or fourth quarter of this year has been put back. “We’re considering doing another round of finance,” says John Ofenloch, Nanovation’s VP of finance.

An IPO won’t be considered until Nanovation has reached certain milestones, says Ofenloch. The milestones relate to serious stuff like revenues, orders, customers and whether its manufacturing plant is up and running, he adds.

Ofenloch adds that continuing litigation surrounding a “back door” method of investing in Nanovation prior to its IPO didn’t play a part in the decision to put back the IPO. "It's just a monkey on our back," he says. The back door involves buying shares in a shell company called Stamford International Inc (Toronto stock exchange: STFZF) which owns about 9 million shares in Nanovation.

Under Tatum’s stewardship, Nanovation acquired quite a reputation for spending large amounts of money. Earlier this year, it splashed out $90 million on setting up a photonics research center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and just last week, July 12, it announced a $41.6 million investment in a 108,000 square-foot manufacturing facility located in Northville Township, Michigan..

As part of this latest deal, Michigan-based Princeton Capital Fund committed to invest an undisclosed sum in the Nanovation. Ironically, its president, Daniel Dorman, explicitly praised Nanovation’s management in a press release issued on July 12, just two days before Tatum got the heave-ho. By Peter Heywood, international editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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