Bert Whyte

The Light Reading Interview

In the Spotlight: Bert Whyte, Director, President, and CEO, net.com

It is 1969, and on almost the exact day that the hippy era is coming to a bloody end at a Stones gig in Altamont, a new era is starting 6,000 miles away.

Across the ocean, on a small island once called "Great Britain," Hubert A.J. Whyte is pulling on his C&A shoes, packing a pork pie for his lunch, and beginning his career in telecommunications at British Telecom (BT) (NYSE: BTY).

The rest, as they say, is history.

Hubert “Bert” Whyte is a hardy perennial of the networking industry. His thirty-three years in telecom have spanned numerous countries and, tragically, Wales (which is where I first met him, in 1989).

Ah, yes. I remember it as if it were 13 years ago.

Back then, Bert was working for Newbridge Networks Corp. (NYSE: NN; Toronto: NNC), where he had already been named “Blurt” by journalists for his habit of letting the cat out of the bag [meow] at the drop of a hat [thunk].

Newbridge didn’t care. They promoted him to vice president and general manager and moved him moose-side, to Canada. (Note: Newbridge later also sold itself to the French – completing a cycle of irresponsible behavior).

Whyte left Newbridge in 1994 to become President and CEO of ACC (later bought by Swedes... a pattern, perhaps?).

From there he moved to his current place of employment: Network Equipment Technologies Inc. (net.com) (NYSE: NWK), where he has served as a director, president, and CEO since 1999.

Mr.Whyte recently graced Light Reading’s offices when he popped by for a cup of tea and “a bit of a chat.” We thought he was coming to enlighten us on the mysteries of service creation. But we got more. Much more. Songs were sung. Chairs toppled. PR people made valiant (but vain) attempts to shut him up by clamping a hand over his mouth.

Eccentric. Ebullient. A networking savant. A soccer fan. And (can we be honest here?) a bit of a looney.

We present then, for your edification: Bert Whyte.

Read ahead for the man's views on:

— Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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let-there-be-light 12/4/2012 | 10:32:06 PM
re: Bert Whyte He has my vote for World President.

Fortunately, the position doesn't exist yet, and I probably wouldn't have voting rights anyway.

Long live Bert!!
kampar 12/4/2012 | 10:30:39 PM
re: Bert Whyte
having met and talked to Bert a couple of times over the past few years .... this industry needs more people like Bert - people who are a little eccentric, are in love with the whole game of hi-tech, are out to make longer-term business work and basically tell it like it is .... unlike so many who prospered on the back of a very shaky foundation the last few years. Good luck to net.com ....... (must admit, I hadn't heard the Lulu story before, though ...)
rbkoontz 12/4/2012 | 10:29:47 PM
re: Bert Whyte OK. This guy is very entertaining and a breath of fresh air to listen to, but he really needs a new gig. With the well documented list of misfortunes at net.com, can't he take a hint? Its bad karma baby...

Unfortunately, what the story failed to focus on is the terrible position net.com is in - they have no business trying to break into this market with such horrible products. Having spent many hours listening to their marketing team pitch it to me, they clearly have no idea how carriers think and the product is an absolute piece. I mean, this product has been "launched" 3 times in a row at Supercom. Still no customers. What a joke...

Bert, howz about you do your shareholders a favor and shut the whole damn thing down? Sell the legacy business to Platinum for a few mil and give the $100M in cash back to shareholders (i.e. ASC). Go get some seed funding for a new start-up and rid yourself of the NET baggage.
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