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The head of Spherix Inc., which failed in its bid to manage Recreation.gov, the online campground reservation system for the National Park Service and four other federal land-management agencies, has resigned.
Thomas W. Gantt stepped down Tuesday (Sept.1) as president and CEO of Beltsville, Md.-based Spherix, citing differing opinions over the future direction of the company, according to a report published in Thursday’s Baltimore Sun.
Gantt’s departure came roughly a month after the United States Department of Agriculture selected ReserveAmerica, a subsidiary of New York City-based InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI) and sister company of Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster, to manage the expansion of Recreation.gov.
The three-and-a-half-year, performance-based contract, which provides for additional option periods for a total contract period not to exceed 10 years, is potentially worth as much as $128 million, according to the USDA.
Spherix, whose varied businesses involve everything from providing online campground reservations to developing an artificial sweetener, was one of several contenders for the Recreation.gov contract.
Spherix derived about a quarter of its 2003 revenue from the provision of online reservation services to the National Park Service, according to the Sun.
Spherix founder Gilbert Levin told the paper Gantt’s departure was not related to the loss of the federal contract. Gantt, however, had wanted to expand Spherix’s information technology division at the expense of the company’s biotechnology business, Levin said.
Recreation.gov, which is already online, will eventually serve as a one-stop-shop for consumers wishing to book more than 57,000 campsites, cabins and tours in parks managed by the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.