2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves

Keeping up with who was in charge of some of the companies in 2001 was a bit like following the Abbott and Costello bit, “Who’s on first?"

Companies like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) certainly kept human resource workers on their toes as they shuffled and sometimes reshuffled executives in top spots. And with the stock market in the toilet, many executives have opted to get out of public companies altogether. Instead, they’ve taken leading positions at the few hot startups still getting funding.

Here’s how we sized up the top ten most important personnel moves of the year.

No. 10: Randall Kruep -- Procket Rocks

Once top sales boss at Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK), Kruep clearly saw sales declining at Redback. He is now CEO of one of Silicon Valley's stealthiest and hottest startups, IP routing specialist Procket Networks Inc. (Procket is Number 9 on the Light Reading top ten private company list -- see Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies.)

No. 9: Vivek Ragavan -- Redback Exodus

Kruep wasn’t the only one jumping ship at Redback in 2001. The company also lost several other top execs, including its CEO Vivek Ragavan. As the company’s stock price slid to new lows in the early spring, Ragavan, who sold Siara to Redback for $4 billion in 1999, bailed and took the top spot at metro Ethernet startup, Atrica Inc. (Atrica was just named Number 2 on the Light Reading hot startup list -- see Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies).

No. 8: Kevin DeNuccio -- Tough Road Ahead

In the last year and a half, Redback has had more CEOs than profitable quarters. First, there was Dennis Barsema (see Redback's Barsema to Lead Startup), then Vivek Ragavan. In late August, after courting several Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) execs for the top spot, the company announced former Cisco sales exec, Kevin DeNuccio, as new CEO. The big question now: Will DeNuccio -- who spent six years at as the top sales boss in Cisco's service provider line of business -- be able to save Redback’s sinking ship?

No. 7: Bob Barron -- Heading West

Barron, who came to Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) as CEO of acquired Chromatis, lost his job this spring when the company reorganized again, eliminating his product group and canceling development of the Chromatis product. Now he is CEO of LightCross Inc., an optical component startup.

No. 6: Don Smith -- Networking Reunion Tour

Don Smith and his old pal Terry Matthews, of Newbridge Networks Corp. (NYSE: NN; Toronto: NNC) fame, have gotten the band together again, so to speak. In March, Smith left his post as president of Nortel’s optical Internet solutions group, taking the president position at Mitel Networks, where former colleague Matthews is chairman of the board.

No. 5: Anil Khatod -- A Disappearing Act

One day he’s there, the next he’s gone.

No. 4: Kevin Kennedy -- Not in Tune With Chambers?

The rumor mill was churning this summer when it became clear that Kennedy and Cisco CEO John Chambers were not getting along. The big question: Where would the senior VP end up? Redback? Nortel? By late August, the mystery was finally laid to rest when Kennedy, emerged as COO of Openwave Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: OPWV), an IP-based communication infrastructure software company. Score for Openwave.

No. 3: Carl Russo -- Sneaking Out?

Is Carl Russo, the man behind Cisco’s optical story, slowly making his way out the back door?

No. 2: Greg Mumford -- Ready to Rumble

2001 was not Nortel’s year; that’s for sure. Not only did the company report one disappointing quarter after another, which helped send the entire United States economy ass over tea cup into a recession, it also lost several top executives. But the giant from the North is not giving up. The company is reorganizing and refocusing. Step one: It’s named Harley-riding Nortel vet, Greg Mumford as CTO, clearly putting optical as a top priority. See: Nortel Bets on Mumford. No. 1: John Roth -- Accelerated Retirement

When the going gets tough, it’s time to get a new CEO. Nortel CEO John Roth was supposed to step down in April 2002, but that date got moved up. In October, the same day the company cut 20,000 more jobs and announced it had recorded a $3.6 billion loss in its third quarter, it also announced that Frank A. Dunn, Nortel's chief financial officer, would become Nortel’s chief executive as of November 1, 2001.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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Fiberop 12/4/2012 | 11:17:08 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves Hi Dodo,

I was wondering whether you have more information (maybe web links) about xpv capital. How is the company doing at the moment?

dodo 12/4/2012 | 11:17:06 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves FiberOp

Looks like they are still active since they have an office in TO and a telephone number and I have seen news involving some of its members but no actual funding per se.

Their web site does not work and they are not listed under the Canadian venture Capital Association nor the Canadait.com resources list (though one of its members seems to be very active in the IT field).

Will post if I do get some concrete info in the future.

Fiberop 12/4/2012 | 11:16:26 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves Dodo,

thanks a lot for the information. Much appreciated. I also got the feeling that xpv capital is still very secretive and it is quite difficult to find recent information about them.

dodo 12/4/2012 | 11:07:03 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves 4 out of 10 ;not bad at all

Since Nortel was the World leader in the Telecomm bus to give the axe in 2001, you have made your point.

Forgot to mention the fall of the Dauphin-Chandran the CEO in waiting (circa 2001)
mrcasual 12/4/2012 | 11:07:02 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves I think you guys overestimate the importance of the role of CTO at Nortel. Take a look at it's history.

Bill Hawe: I believe they created the position of CTO for Bill as a consequence of the Bay acquisition, i.e. he was Nortel's first CTO. Basically this was a place for Bill to wait and vest.

Jules Meunier: Did some time in the CTO doghouse before "leaving".

Greg Mumford: Newly annointed CTO.

In a big politcal machine like Nortel having product clout is key. The CTO has none of that. The position carries no P&L accountability and therefore it has no direct decsion making authority. If this has changed, good for Greg.

If it hasn't, then Greg is in the doghouse where he gets to attend conferences, talk to Lightreading, start the occaisonal task force, and hope that some product group actually listens to him. Not exactly my dream job.

Prediction: Watch for Greg to leave Nortel in 2002.

Counter prediction: They are giving Greg the CTO job to let him polish his "public" skills so that when they can Frank Dunn as CEO they can move Greg into that slot.

That pretty much covers all the bases. :-)
dodo 12/4/2012 | 11:06:58 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves mrcasual

Before Bill, there was someone by the name of Robert Pfeiffer who got the job from JR when he came back from his stint in Europe in 1999/2000.

Some exNortelers must remember the 3 weeks IP crash course that the people from Ottawa got at a local university back in 1999 and the views of some of these IP experts at the exec level at that time- I am disgressing now!!!

Back in the fall of 2000, when sales started to slow down and the political musical chair was going on at the exec level( remember Versalar fiasco that summer and the subsequent hype about the OPC which did not materialize) Rob was put on the side line and he quietly ( just guessing here ) retired to pursue other endeavours.

This is a good example :


Apart from Bill, all the CTOs been from the switching clique after some stints in the US and Europe ( Jules followed Rob's path except that he was never the President of BNR).

Greg has always been either in Brampton /Montreal and Ottawa
mrcasual 12/4/2012 | 11:06:56 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves I googled on Rob Pfeffer (correct spelling of his last name) and found that he was CTO of Carrier Packet Solutions, not all of Nortel which was why he slipped my mind.

Was the 3 week course a follow on to the original IP flight school? As an ex-Norteler I can say that I was at the original IP flight school in 1998.
Indeed interesting to hear the NT execs talk about IP and routers. Of particular interest was listening to Marco Pagani talk about Avici. At the time he was the head Nortel guy in charge of that relationship. They actually announced the Bay acquisition during that flight school.

I thought the best part of it was Scott Bradner's history of the Internet and his discussions on how porn drives the internet.

According to most people Rob was the guy who was ulitmately responsible for killing the Avici relationship.

Don't get me started on Versalar/OPC.
opticguy 12/4/2012 | 11:06:55 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves I remembered Rob in the days of AVP of AccessNode 1900-1991. It was interesting that the product came out 2 years late, full of bugs and he got promoted to VP. Very strong in political skill set.

About 3 week IP flight school, I was under the impression that with all the carrier relationships with DMS products over the last 40 years, JR stressed that now NT is ready to conquer the world with IP technology. Watch out CISCO, here we come !!!!!!!!!!!

Litewave 12/4/2012 | 11:06:54 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves Author: opticguy
I remembered Rob in the days of AVP of AccessNode 1900-1991. It was interesting that the product came out 2 years late, full of bugs and he got promoted to VP. Very strong in political skill set.

I think Rob had two inherent problems when he was (originally positioned) as CTO (not just for CPS);
(a) he was pro IP to the extent of pissing off many Passport folks
(b) while he was somewhat visionary with respect to technology, he had very poor people and presentation skills.

I actually remember being at a customer presentation with him (just post Bay acquisition), everyone else presented with color slides using a projector, Rob presented with foils, in black and white at that! - the Customer was not impressed.
MajorKong 12/4/2012 | 11:06:50 PM
re: 2001 Top Ten: Personnel Moves ......so mrcasual, how do we get you started on the Versalar/OPC thing? We are dying to know!!!

What's wrong with dumping Avici to pursue some tech wiz kid fabric called "reamer", I mean "rotator", then axing your plan B product, Versalar 25000??????

do tell....spill your intelligence!
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