Headcount: Miller's Oranges

Maple closes, Xtera cuts, Celion retrenches, Allegro's still open, and Nortel promotes Morin

February 10, 2003

4 Min Read
Headcount: Miller's Oranges

In honor of the New York run of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," which premiered this week in 1942, Headcount dares to ask: What are companies doing to reward loyal employees these days? Or is loyalty even relevant?

Will the recession convince rank-and-file employees that a steady paycheck is more than enough? Are today's companies getting away with, as Willy Loman put it, eating the orange and throwing the peel away?

Headcount reminds you that a person is not a piece of fruit, and an apple may be liked, but not well liked... and we encourage your discussion of employee/management loyalty issues on the boards below.

And while you're getting juiced, we'll review some of the past week's most interesting hirings and (groan!) prunings:

  • Long-haul equipment maker Xtera Communications Inc. confirms it has cut 45 people, or about 30 percent of its staff. "We can beat our competitors, but we can't outrun the market," says Paul Harrison, Xtera's VP of marketing, who is winding down his duties over the next several weeks.

    About a year ago, Xtera did an about-face and went from supplying subsystems to makers of long-haul DWDM transport gear to making its own gear and competing against its former (well, prospective) customers. The company's products fall in that murky category of gear that carriers get excited about, but, for various reasons, refuse to buy (see Xtera's New Plan).

  • Speaking of market changes, Celion Networks Inc., once a long-haul systems vendor selling to telecom carriers, has started selling its box to enterprises that need to move lots of data across their corporate-owned networks. The company says it has "close to 50" employees, but the change in markets has led to some staff shuffling. Celion once listed Clarel Thevenot as its VP of sales and marketing and Kevin Anthony as VP of engineering. Now M. Philip Salas holds the VP of engineering title, while Jonathan R. Dreyfus, director of business development, and Amnish Khosla, director of technology marketing, appear to have absorbed Thevenot's post (see Celion Adds to Team).

  • Closure rumors abound, but Allegro Networks Inc. says it is still alive and, well, alive, in this industry. The router startup is working on raising a third funding round. "We were thinking that we would close the round by the end of January, but it's taking longer than expected," says David Ginsburg, Allegro's VP of marketing. Allegro says it now employs 75, down from 78, as last reported in late October 2002 (see Startups Make More Cuts).

    Meanwhile, Headcount would like to give a shout out to David and his wife Marie for their birth of their daughter. "Maya Alexandra, is now generally available as of the 30th of January at 10PM PST, a full quarter ahead of schedule," Ginsburg wrote in a mock press release announcing the birth. (Sigh! Marketing guy humor. What can we say? At least he didn't make a Star Trek joke.)

  • So far, ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL) has been relatively quiet about its widely reported efforts to collapse many of its subsidiaries back into a larger, more manageable company. Thus, the fates of companies such as Enavis Networks Ltd. are left to speculation. But something is evidently in the offing. Israel's Globes newspaper is reporting that, according to unnamed sources, ECI is about to cut 150 to 200 jobs from its Inovia Telecoms Ltd. and Lightscape Networks Ltd. divisions. Headcount's calls to ECI weren't returned.

  • It's "aloha" to Jo Anne Miller, the Gluon Networks Inc. CEO who took a Hawaiian vacation after sending a memo telling employees to "do everything it takes, including postponing December vacations," to make deadlines. Gluon announced Miller's resignation last week. She was replaced by Shirish Patel (see Gluon Replaces President/CEO).

  • Several sources say that Maple Optical Systems is closed. Calls to Maple haven't been returned. The company's headcount peaked at about 150, according to previous Light Reading reports.

  • Turin Networks Inc. has cut 12 workers, or 7 percent of its staff, according to John Webley, president and CEO of Turin Networks. The company says it avoided an even bigger layoff by slashing salaries. About half of the company's 150 employees were affected by the pay cuts, including some managers. The cuts were generally less than 10 percent of the employee's current salary. "Usually it's the regular workers getting laid off," says Webley. "But we felt it was time that management felt the pain as well. [The pay cuts] were less than 10 percent, so it wasn't the end of the world."

  • Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) says it has named Philippe Morin the general manager of its optical networks group. Morin was formerly VP of product management for the same group.

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments (and disappointments) from the past several days:

  • JDSU Names New CFO

  • Vivace Looking at NTT, New CEO

  • Ericsson Replaces CEO

  • Optinel Names Engineering VPs

  • Bookham Nips and Tucks

  • KMI Research Founder DiesThat's our report, orange rinds and all. If we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading

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