Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm

No, the "Luminous Helm" isn't some Dungeons & Dragons artifact. It refers to the CEO position at metro systems vendor Luminous Networks Inc., newly occupied by Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) executive Chris Stark. He replaces Alex Naqvi, who stays on as chairman.

Light Reading reported the transition earlier this week (see Luminous Makes Stark Choice).

What's interesting is that the company's not giving much of a reason for the change. Naqvi says he just wants to move away from day-to-day operations after more than five years running Luminous.

"The last few years have been difficult for everybody," he says, and it was a good time to make a transition."

The family-and-fatigue excuse has been used in the past to explain CEO departures, with varying degrees of success (see Cyras: Crisis? What Crisis? ). Often it's meant to mask a firing or a sinking bottom line -- but neither appears to be the case with Luminous.

In fact, Luminous may soon get a shot at business with RBOCs and European PTTs due to its interest in Resilient Packet Ring Technology(RPR), according to "The Future of Sonet/SDH," a November report from Heavy Reading, Light Reading's paid research arm. "Major carriers are catching on to RPR, eagerly awaiting its standardization," writes Heavy Reading analyst Scott Clavenna.

That standard, crafted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.17 Working Group, is expected to be ratified this summer. That makes it a good time for Luminous to cozy up to big carriers -- and Stark's credentials would appear to fit the bill. He was most recently a group vice president running the North American arm of Alcatel Optics, an outfit that included systems and (while Alcatel still had them) components (see Avanex Deal Reshapes Sector).

Naqvi, on the other hand, comes from the chip world, having directed 3-D graphics efforts for Chips & Technologies Inc. and its acquirer, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC). It seems sensible, then, that Luminous would seek a CEO with more carrier contacts, but Naqvi denies that that was the catalyst for his stepping down.

"That wasn't a factor. [RPR] is a relatively new technology and after five years, I know as much about this market as anybody does," he says.

Luminous's overall record was good enough to rank first among Sonet/SDH startups in the Heavy Reading report. The company has raised $173 million in funding, including $25 million last September, and is bolstered by "strong relationships with Ciena and Scientific-Atlanta, a global customer base, and a range of products supporting next-gen Sonet and RPR," Clavenna writes. (See Ciena Links Up With Luminous and Scientific-Atlanta Invests $10M in Luminous.)

Luminous's early success was in China, but its North American sales have surpassed its Chinese sales, thanks in part to RPR buildouts from five major cable MSOs. Company officials say Luminous boxes have landed in 2,000 nodes for more than 40 customers.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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spegru 12/5/2012 | 1:50:06 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm since Greenwich....
rocksolid 12/5/2012 | 1:50:05 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm It is interesting to note that Chris Stark's departure from Alcatel, where he was Sr. VP of the Optical Networks Division comes not long after the departure of Craig Hall, who was VP of Marketing for Alcatel's N. American optical group, also reporting into Stark.

What gives?

The two most senior execs of Alcatel's N. American optical group leaving at the same time.

It looks like the Alcatel business unit GM has finally decided to break the N. American optical business unit's pseudo-autonomy which it has tried to maintain ever since Alcatel acquired Rockwell a long time ago.

This would be an interesting story for LR to dig deeper on.
godfather 12/5/2012 | 1:50:03 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm The word on the street is that Luminous's product has issues with it that would make it difficult for the company to survive the way it was going, for much longer.

The Ciena OEM deal seems to have soured the Scientific Atlanta relationship somewhat.

The Ciena partnership is not winning bids either.

The product itself is a 2Gig (sub OC-48) product, with no hopes of ever doing a 10Gig product on the same platform without MAJOR redesign. (And this when competitors like Lantern have 10G today, and Corrigent will have 10G by year end).

The Cable guys (Luminous's main customers) don't want 2Gig any more, and the RBOCs don't want to buy unless it's Osmine, etc. - which Luminous is not!

And to top it all, it is not standards compliant. Luminous is an year away from having a standards compliant product, while the standard will be out in a couple of months!

So, I suspect Alex has been moved to let someone else figure out a way out of this hole they're digging themselves into...

The GodFather.
truelight 12/5/2012 | 1:50:01 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm The product time is not now or in the future ie.e. its int he past. The cost of the products is prohibited and its does not provide the economic value it claims.

It is an ATM VP ADM with "Atmospheric" price points and short on feature/function.

BTW - Look even CISCO is 'defensive' by offering VCAT on SONET and copying other vendors ;-)

Luminous Guy 12/5/2012 | 1:49:56 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm Gentlemen,
Business is great, technology is solid and the standard is VERY close. The only this I can add is that business is getting better, adding MORE customers every quarter while our existing customer purchase MORE equipment.
I'm curious what companies that truelight and God Father work for that allows them so much time to post...
Good luck to all.
truelight 12/5/2012 | 1:49:53 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm A "barry" fish.

Your product is not as succesful as you claim - how many customers have you really got - do not include the paid for China cable compnaies - your technology is gone.

Luminous Guy 12/5/2012 | 1:49:50 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm truelight,
I'm not clear on your reference but I must point to the facts:
How many companies started up in 1999 are still around and operating?
My simple point? Selling = revenues = keeping the doors open.
Why would a successful executive join Luminous if everything is as bad you describe?
Good hunting!
So who do you work for, truelight?
truelight 12/5/2012 | 1:49:45 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm Executives move around based on the package they get.

This is a BoD move to bolster interest in the company, a desparate act before the end? Stark will have a nice package tho or he would not join. Pelease do you thing that Stark is going to make a difference to you guys ? Duh, succesful executive - sure :-)

Lets see some customer wins posted.

Fact not fiction

txccbuyer 12/5/2012 | 1:49:42 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm Anyone has update about Luminous market penetration in the OC-3 access area in China? Thanks!
Timber 12/5/2012 | 1:49:35 AM
re: Alcatel Exec Takes Luminous Helm Luminous Guy wrote: "Why would a successful executive join Luminous if everything is as bad you describe?"

Dude, you're smoking crack! Stark was not a successful executive....he was FIRED from Alcatel. This is not a sign of success.

Also, why is the article title about an "Alcatel Executive joins..." It should read, "Former Alcatel Executive...".

He was FIRED! WALKED! CUT! TANKED! or, in the lexicon of Alcatel, "left to pursue other opportunities..."
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