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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Vivato names Sbona as CEO

A Silicon Valley veteran has taken over as chief executive officer of Vivato, a Spokane Valley tech startup.

Gary J. Sbona took over the CEO job from Donald Stalter, who had been the second chief executive at the company, which designs and makes extended-range wireless communications devices.

Sbona said he started last week. “Don will remain on in a transition through mid-April,” Sbona said Thursday.

Since 1999 Sbona has been chairman of the board of Verity Inc., a software company based in Sunnyvale, Calif. He was Verity’s CEO and president from 1997 until 2003.

Verity’s Web site says Sbona also serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Regent Pacific Management Corp., a management-services firm based in San Francisco.

Vivato currently has fewer than 70 workers at its Spokane Valley engineering and support office. It also has a corporate office in San Francisco.

It was founded in December 2000 by Ken Biba and Agilent Technologies engineers Skip Crilly, Bob Conley and Jim Brennan.

Biba was the first CEO but was asked by Vivato’s board of directors to step down in 2003, when he was replaced by Stalter.

Sbona said he’s familiar with Spokane. “I’ve sent several kids through Gonzaga University,” he said.

His goals and focus will become clearer as he spends more time with the company, he said. “We’ve got a lot of great people there and it’s a great company,” he added.

Sbona said he was pegged for the CEO job by investors who hold seats on Vivato’s board of directors. Sbona said he has not invested in Vivato.

Attempts to reach Vivato Chairman Geoff Baehr were unsuccessful.

Stalter said in an e-mail message that he plans to start a new technology company in the San Francisco area.

“This was an amicable parting and some of the current investors are likely to be involved in my new startup — which will be complementary to Vivato,” he said.

He added that Sbona is a well-connected senior manager with more than 20 years experience who can take Vivato to the next level of profitability.

“It’s the right move at the right time for all concerned,” Stalter said.

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