Headcount: A Cooler Crowd

The Headcount office has been a busy place lately. In fact, we're considering installing stadium seating around the water cooler to control the crowds and to more easily disseminate all the industry chit-chat.

But enough about our looney logistics. Here are some of the most interesting hirings and firings from the past few days:

  • Good Ga-Reef
    Reef Point Systems Inc. (formerly Quarry Technologies) has changed its name, changed its management, and changed markets recently. Now it is changing some staff as well.

    The company has been laying off staff as the company retools itself to become a security vendor in the fixed/mobile convergence space (see Reef Point Unveils Security Gateway).

    Reef Point's spokeswoman described the firings as a "realignment of resources" and wouldn't say how many were cut. So we turned to our sources, who say Reef Point has cut about half its staff, around 50 people.

    In May, the company's new CEO, Steve Diamond, said the company was adding 26 people to its payroll this year alone, giving it around 90 people overall. At the time, Diamond said the company could have 110 people by year's end (see Headcount: Synergy Qwest).

  • UTStonewalled
    Something is awry at UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI) as sources say the company has recently sent its VP of strategic marketing, its general manager of European operations, and several other executives packing.

    UTStarcom, through its PR agency, said it doesn't comment on personnel issues, despite the fact that it routinely announces executive appointments and board changes (see UTStarcom Names COO, UTStar Cuts Estimates, Board Member Resigns, and UTStarcom Names Head of Biz Dev).

    The company's habit of being hard to read is catching the investment world's attention, too. Here's why Zacks.com, a stock picking service, today publicized UTStarcom as one of its five "stocks to sell now":

      UTStarcom, Inc. has seen analysts' forecasts for its full year earnings plunge. Three months ago, analysts were anticipating profits of $1.20 per share. Currently, analysts are projecting a loss of five cents per share. The most recent estimate represents a negative revision of three cents from seven days ago and a negative revision of 20 cents from one month ago.
    But let's not let Wall Street have the last word. Send your news tips on what UTStarcom is up to with its staff changes and product plans to this address and we'll reward the top tippers with a Light Reading T-shirt.

  • Dry humps
    Megisto Systems, a startup that raised somewhere around $60 million in venture funding, recently sold its assets and intellectual property so it could recover $1 million (see Megisto Sells Up).

    Megisto was once a wireless routing vendor that saw its market dry up and decided it could only survive by going a more conservative route. “We saw we were in the middle of a desert, and we turned into a camel,” its CEO once told Unstrung (see 2004 Top Ten: Notable Quotes).

    But, as history shows, startups that save as a business strategy are rarely are able to save themselves.

  • A smaller school
    Mahi Networks Inc. didn't say so at the time, but Headcount has recently learned that the company cut 58 people from its Petaluma, Calif., facility when it restructured back in April (see Mahi Restructures & Swims East).

    Another fish story from Mahi… The company's former VP of marketing, Ron Longo, is now senior VP of global sales. "I am on the road 3 weeks per month in North America, Asia, and Europe," writes Longo, who declines to comment on whether he'll buy a private jet with his frequent flyer miles. The company will begin ramping sales in Latin America in the next few weeks as well, Longo reports.

  • Fountains of Wayne
    Headcount sources say Wayne Gaudette, a member of Tellabs Inc.'s (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) sales team that focused on selling to Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON), has left that firm to join BigBand Networks Inc.. Word is that Gaudette is VP of Telco Sales at BigBand.

  • Moving in mysterious ways, eh?
    So what were the events that led President and COO Gary Daichendt to resign from Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) after only three months?

    A story in the Ottawa Citizen last week described the events leading up to the mysterious departure this way:

      With [CEO Bill] Owens occupied elsewhere, Daichendt told directors that he and his wife had prayed that morning for guidance. God's message, he informed the board, was that he should quickly be made CEO, implying that Owens would have to go. Daichendt added that chief financial officer Peter Currie would also have to leave Nortel.

    That Daichendt was a man of faith is not the issue. Light Reading had previously reported that Daichendt is listed as a speaker on the Website www.christianity.com as a member of the board of directors for an organization called Walk Through the Bible. "Gary speaks frequently to both Christian and non-Christian groups around the country," says the Website (see Nortel COO Resigns ).

    But how far exactly did Daichendt go to push the board into publicly naming him as the heir-apparent to Bill Owens?

    On that heavenly note, we'll 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, News Editor, Light Reading

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