Dapper Embrane Exec Defends New CEO
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading
LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- Newly appointed Embrane CEO Bill Burns was pushed out as head honcho of the last company he ran, test equipment vendor Spirent, after a year and a half of declining revenues. (See Spirent Dumps Its CEO.)
So why does Embrane Inc. think he was a catch as its new CEO? Because of his initial track record at Spirent.
Embrane, which provides application management for traditional and software-defined networks, named Burns as CEO to replace co-founder Dante MalagrinÚ, who continues as chief product officer. Embrane was doing the Startup Founder Shuffle, bringing in Burns to provide professional management for the next stage of growth. (See Embrane Taps Ex-Spirent Boss Bill Burns as CEO.)
I caught up with Embrane VP Marketing John Vincenzo at their booth here at Interop, and we talked about Burns once I got over the retina-burn from Embrane employees' brightly colored boothwear.
I noted that Burns was pushed out of Spirent last year after revenue declined in 2012 and 2013. But Vincenzo defended Burns. "Look at the entire time he was as the company," Vincenzo said. For Burns's first four years at Spirent, he increased revenue, profitability, and market share.
Spirent went from $427 million revenue in 2009, Burns's first full year as CEO, to $528 million in 2011, his last good year.
"It's a day-to-day battle to grow new business at a startup," Vincenzo said, adding that Burns has the leadership experience to get the job done.
I haven't talked to Burns yet -- he's no doubt doing the new employee thing at Embrane, meeting with colleagues, filling out HR e-paperwork, and getting lost between the coffee machine and his desk. But I hope to talk with him soon, and find out more about Embrane's technology and plans under the new leadership, as soon as I stop seeing afterimages from Vincenzo's clothing.