Aruba Swaps Heads

It's changing of the guard time at enterprise wireless LAN startup, Aruba Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ARUN). Chairman of the board Dominic Orr has become the firm's new president and CEO, while current chief executive, Don LeBeau, is moving into the chairman's role.

The company says that the turnabout will help it manage growth at the company, which is currently the largest startup in the enterprise wireless LAN market, according to sales figures from Dell'Oro Group and Synergy Research Group Inc. .

"My background and Don's are actually very compatible," Orr tells Unstrung. The plan, according to the new CEO, is to free up LeBeau up so that he can work more on sales, particularly to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) accounts, while Orr manages the operations side of the firm.

Aruba turned its first profit in the quarter ended January 31, a few quarters ahead of schedule, according to Orr, although this claim cannot be verified since Aruba has not released any actual revenue figures.

Executives at the startup have long talked of the prospect of an IPO, but are still leery of giving out too many details about when that might happen. "An IPO is something we continue to have in our sights," allows Keerti Melkote, VP of product management and marketing for Aruba.

Orr adds that additional venture funding could also be "an option" for the firm, depending on growth circumstances.

David Callisch, an Aruba alumni who has worked for both LeBeau and Orr and is now at Ruckus Wireless Inc. says that the CEO move makes sense if the company is looking to go in that direction. "I think they release what they need to execute their asses off," he tells Unstrung.

"I love both of these guys but if you held a gun to my head I'd have to say that Dominic is an operational nazi, whereas Don is more of a big picture strategic guy."

Orr, former CEO of Alteon WebSystems, has been Aruba's chairman of the board since the startup's launch in 2003. LeBeau, a former Cisco executive known for his love of high-end stereo gear, came onboard as CEO in January 2004 (See LeBeau Dons Aruba Crown and Something for the Weekend, Sir?.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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