Headcount: Wrong Way Huawei

Here at Headcount HQ, we're always interested in tales from the high-rolling, globetrotting executive recruitment market – especially when they involve mysterious companies like Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

A high-level network architect recently recounted a strange tale in which he was recruited by two corporate recruiters and a half-dozen Huawei managers, only to end up with an offer that was roughly half of what he earned in the States. To take the job, Huawei also wanted him to relocate his family to China and live in Huawei's corporate housing – without a relocation package or an education budget for his kids.

Something got lost in translation.

"What a waste of time," said our source, who described the Huawei recruitment process as some sort of "Keystone Cops" experience.

The failed seduction started when our source got a call from a Huawei recruiter in Beijing. Our source says that after he expressed interest, he was quickly bounced from recruiter to manager to manager, back to recruiter, and then eventually to a manager at Huawei's FutureWei subsidiary in Texas.

Not only was nailing down the exact requirements for the job difficult, says our networking expert, but none of the Huawei executives could agree on where he should be based. The office proposals ranged from Beijing to Shenzhen. Sydney, Australia was mentioned, too, and that's a long drive from Futurewei's office in Plano.

Finally, our source asked for a formal letter with a formal offer. What he got was a letter asking him to take a laughable pay cut and pack his bags for a company dorm in Shenzhen.

Headcount hopes this yarn serves as a warning for execs everywhere: A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers. Actually, that wasn't the lesson at all. That just came up in my Chinese proverbs desk calendar. Oh, well...

We'll move on by bringing you the most interesting hirings and firings from the past few days:

  • Cerent Corp. founder Ajaib Bhadare has left Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Again. Bhadare's first stint at Cisco came upon the acquisition of Cerent for nearly $7 billion back in 1999. He left for a while, then returned in December 2005 to work in Cisco's optical division – the remnants of the Cerent acquisition. A Headcount spy in Northern California adds this: "My take on that is that his move of Cerent to India is complete. This can be seen in the empty parking lots at the old Cerent building." (See Cisco Taps Cerent Vet.)

    Volpi Sighting
  • Speaking of former Cisco execs... Headcount has learned that, in February, Cisco's former senior VP quietly took a seat on the board at Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR). (If he took the seat loudly, we would have reported that, too.) Wall Street's not so thrilled with Clearwire since its IPO, but Mr. Volpi's stock has never been higher. (See Volpi Sizes Up Life After Cisco.)

    Singh Steps Back
  • Renowned film financier Raj Singh says he has left the CEO's chair at Sonoa Systems Inc. , the company he most recently founded. Singh remains on the board, and Headcount has learned the new Sonoa chief is a former IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) exec, though we haven't nailed down the chap's name yet. When we find out, we'll have our people call your people. (See Sonoa Secures Round B.)

    Sorry, Charlie
  • Speaking of fleeing founders, Calient Technologies Inc. founder Charles Corbalis has left his post as CEO of that optical switching concern. Corbalis was replaced by Kevin Welsh, who is not Welsh, sometime in December or January, Headcount sources say. If memory serves, Corbalis was the first CEO of Calient when the company was founded in 1999, so the change is significant in that respect. In all other respects, well, who knows? (See Calient Claims Breakthroughs On Optical Switches.)

    Trivia Time! Did you know that Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) were among the early investors in Calient? You just don't see those companies pumping money into startups these days, do ya?

    Now Vogt?
  • This just in... Genband Inc. is in talks to acquire Tekelec 's switching business, a move that, if the deal goes through, will put Taqua back in the hands of Genband CEO Charlie Vogt, the guy that sold Taqua to Tekelec in the first place. (See Genband in Switching Biz Talks With Tekelec.) The other thing it will mean, in Headcount terms, is a force reduction in the some 300 employees that currently make up Tekelec's stoutly staffed switching business. Stay tuned.

    We wrap up, as usual, with a summary of other industry appointments and disappointments from the past few days:

    That's all for now. But it doesn't have to be. Keep those news tips coming to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey, Barely Managing Editor, Light Reading

  • Tom-Andrew 12/5/2012 | 3:12:26 PM
    re: Headcount: Wrong Way Huawei Anyone know the real reason why Ajaib Bhadare went back to work for Cisco (Cerent)? What did he expect to be able to accomplish?
    phildn 12/5/2012 | 3:12:07 PM
    re: Headcount: Wrong Way Huawei Maybe it's his chance to get out before the whole house of cards collapses.

    I wonder, is it so unlikely that no two people each working at half his pay would be more effective than he alone?

    My guess is that human resources depts at major tech companies in the US are so far gone in chasing celebrity, inflated resumes, credential puffery, etc. that the Chinese fire drill approach (no I didn't miss the implication) could easily be better at getting the right person into the right job.

    I think we should stop making fun of the Chinese and start fixing our own house before they come over here and wipe the smiles off our faces with a hobnail boot.
    [email protected] 12/5/2012 | 3:10:57 PM
    re: Headcount: Wrong Way Huawei I work for Huawei for 10 years.
    Hired in Russia for quite a laughable salary.
    Now my salary is 15 times more. Though by American standards, for my position, as one of 10 top technical experts in Huawei, it's still low.

    I can say you what: you in America get used to spend more than you earn, because main exported products of America are greenbacks.
    The sooner you realize this, the better.
    In 10 years you will search for a jobs in South East. And feel pity about such an attractive job offer you have lost 10 yers ago.
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