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Comms chips

Greenfield Hires Another Cisco Vet

The Grand Junction Networks reunion just keeps rolling at Greenfield Networks, as (Nasdaq: CSCO) exec and Grand Junction alumnus Bill Rossi is poised to be the chip startup's next CEO.

Rossi is still employed as Cisco's vice president and general manager for wireless networking, so he didn't have much to say when contacted at Greenfield's offices. "I am helping out the team here," Rossi told Light Reading. "They're a great design team. My background is more the marketing and sales."

But Kamran Torabi, Greenfield's CEO for now, confirms that Rossi is taking the job. The reasons are typical for a tech startup: Torabi, previously vice president of engineering, would like to return to engineering -- and when it comes to finding a more marketing-oriented CEO, a VP from Cisco isn't a bad choice, he notes.

Could this all be a plot to rebuild the old Grand Junction? "I hope so. It's a $4 billion business at Cisco," Torabi says.

Grand Junction was a Fast Ethernet company acquired by Cisco in 1995, back when "Fast Ethernet" sounded cool (as did Deep Blue Something, apparently). Of the Grand Junction people who stuck with Cisco, four including Torabi left in 2001 to start Greenfield. (See Grand Junction Vets Go Greenfield.)

Rossi, who was with Cisco's desktop switching unit before joining the wireless team, would be Greenfield's third chief executive in less than a year. Gary Smerdon, hired after leaving Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL), was CEO for the company's launch in 2004. But he left Greenfield in May of this year, moving literally next door to head a solar-panel startup, leaving Torabi to take the CEO office.

Greenfield makes chips for metro Ethernet systems, particularly for aggregation platforms. The company has raised $48 million in three rounds, the most recent being 14 months ago, and it's scored one big-name design win, with the joint venture of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS). (See Greenfield Snags $21.5M in Series C and Huawei-3Com Picks Greenfield .)

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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