Another Redback Resignation
Smith joined Redback about a year ago from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), where he had held various jobs including Senior Director of Manufacturing and Plant Manager of High-End Optical Systems Manufacturing.
At Redback, Smith handled the company's outsourced manufacturing operations and led its purchasing, quality assurance, and new product introduction efforts. Claire Masso, Redback's VP of operations, will take Smith's place until a permanent replacement is found, a company spokesperson confirmed.
Since May, Smith has been serving on a committee of Redback's senior staff that was handling the company's day-to-day operations in the wake of CEO Vivek Ragavan's dismissal. The other members of the committee are Richard Bibb, Senior Vice President of World Wide Sales, Pankaj Patel, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, and CFO Dennis Wolfe.
Redback has yet to find a CEO, though it had been courting Cisco service provider boss Kevin Kennedy as of a few days ago, according to sources close to Cisco and Redback. Redback Chairman Pierre Lamond said during the company's earnings call last month that an announcement concerning the CEO would be coming in the next few weeks.
In the last 12 months, Redback has lost a sales boss (see Kruep Leaves Redback for Procket), a chief financial officer (see Redback CFO Gentner to Retire), and two CEOs (see Redback's Barsema to Lead Startup and Redback Chief Quits). While the executive officers continue to turn over and losses mount, the company is trying to slow its burn rate and reduce expenses.
Since November 1999, when Redback combined with Siara Systems, the company has spent about $5 billion on three acquisitions. Losses have mounted, and revenues have declined sequentially in the last two quarters.
Redback has cut expenses significantly since the beginning of this year, and it has written off tens of millions of dollars in inventory for the past few quarters. Some analysts, however, believe that the company won't see pro forma profitability in fiscal 2002 unless it chops operating expenses by at least another 20 percent.
As the company continues to be plagued by carrier spending slowdowns and delayed orders from customers, it is still announcing contract wins on a regular basis. Just this week Redback said that three subsidiaries of China Telecom would be buying its subscriber management system (SMS) products for their networks.
Shares of Redback closed down 0.05 (0.75%) to 6.64 in trading Thursday -- that's 94 percent lower than its year-ago stock price.
- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading