S.Lo No Go as Aruba CEO

Potential candidate for top job at Aruba 'too attractive' for the job. We hate when that happens to us...

February 14, 2003

2 Min Read
S.Lo No Go as Aruba CEO

Wireless LAN switch contender Aruba Networks Inc. is on the hunt for a big name CEO.

David Callisch, communications director at Aruba, says the startup, mindful of the challenges it will face it to establish itself against established vendors as they enter the market (see WLAN Switch Shakeout Looms?), is looking for an established figure to give the company viability. "Pankaj Manglik [founder and acting CEO] and Keerti Melkote [founder and VP of management] are smart, technical guys, but we need someone who's been there, done that," he says. [Ed. note: It’s true; David really talks like this!]

Aruba, as we've pointed out before is home to a lot of former inmates from content switch startup Alteon WebSystems (see Aruba's Switch Pitch for details). Unstrung has been hearing suggestions that there may be room for one more at the top.

Selina Lo, Former vice president of product management at Alteon, consults for Aruba and is also an investor in the company. Several sources have told Unstrung that she is in the running for the CEO position.

However, Callisch laughs the suggestion off. "She's not going to be the CEO," he chortles. "She's too attractive to be our CEO, and we'd need to pay her a shoe budget." And Lo, he claims, already has a closet full of dainty $200 shoes she never wears. [Ed. note: Insert sound of reporter's jaw dropping.]

However, Callisch says Aruba will announce a new CEO soon, and he will be an industry veteran, presumably with a taste for Payless loafers. "We're talking to big guys with experience," he adds. "They like bigger, more manly shoes."

Callisch’s banter notwithstanding, most observers think that Aruba would need to be clinically insane not to offer the CEO job to Lo. She has a peerless reputation for picking the right product at the right time and then flawlessly marketing the product -- and the company that makes it -- to incumbent equipment vendors. She’s already scored twice as a co-founder: with Centillion, a switchmaker sold to Bay Networks in 95; and Alteon, a content switch outfit startup sold to Nortel for $7.3 billion in stock (Nortel’s falling stock price later devalued the deal).

In fact, Callisch says that it is more the case that Lo simply doesn't need the top job at Aruba. "We'd love to have her," he says [ed. note: all kidding aside] but adds that Lo is "independently wealthy."

Lo herself says she is currently happy with her part-time advisory role at Aruba. "I have no plans to work full time yet," she wrote in an email reply to Unstrung.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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