Wi-Lan co-founder resigns over conflict with company

Wi-Lan co-founder, Hatim Zaghloul, has resigned over a disagreement with the company's direction.

Hatim Zaghloul, co-founder of Wi-Lan Inc., has resigned from the board of the Calgary wireless technology company after an apparent disagreement with management over the company's future direction.

Wi-Lan said Wednesday that Zaghloul had left, citing concerns over "the timing of implementation of company strategies."

Zaghloul was apparently reacting to a company decision earlier this month to divest Wi-Lan's product lines, and license intellectual property and patent rights instead.

Wi-Lan was founded in 1992 to commercialize innovative wireless technology that Zaghloul had invented. In subsequent years, he held various management positions, including president and chief executive officer.

He was replaced as CEO a year ago.

Since then, the company has moved away from the production of Zaghloul's patented broadband wireless technologies, preferring to license the technology instead.

Chairman Bill Hews confirmed the new strategy in a statement.

"The board approved the elements of the strategic plan and appreciated Dr. Zaghloul's support," Hews said in a statement. "We will continue to implement the plan, targeting to deliver on Wi-Lan's potential while managing inherent risks."

In his statement Feb. 2, CEO Bill Dunbar referred to a major patent-licensing deal with Cisco Systems Ltd. as an indication of where the company was headed. Under that agreement, Cisco bought several of Wi-Lan's patents and then granted Wi-Lan a licence to use the patents in its products.

Dunbar has since resigned.

Last week, Wi-Lan announced a second deal. It said it had agreed to sell its TIL-TEK antenna manufacturing division to Kavveri Telecom Products Ltd. of Bangalore, India, for net proceeds of about $2 million.

Wi-Lan shares (TSX:WIN)closed Wednesday at 66 cents, down one cent, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

During the height of the tech-sector bubble, the stock spiked to as high as $94 in March 2000 but has been below $5 for most of the past five years.