Optical/IP Networks

Headcount: Buy vs Lure

If you can't lure them, buy them. Perhaps that's the direction Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has taken with its intent to acquire Procket Networks Inc. for its staff and intellectual property (see Cisco to Pay $89M for Procket Assets).

In 2001, then Procket CEO Randall Kruep, a Cisco veteran himself, had this observation regarding Cisco's culture, which is worth revisiting in light of the Procket deal: "Cisco has grown so big and become so bureaucratic that it is no longer a place where the best engineers want to work," Kruep told the Financial Times.

When the next Procket CEO, Roland Acra, left Cisco to take his post there, he told Light Reading that the three reasons for joining the startup were the superior technical team; the company's viable, shipping products; and the chance that it could sell a lot of systems in the next 12 to 18 months.

Two out of three ain't bad.

Let's give that topic the pink slip for now and run through the other hirings and firings happening recently in the telecom world:

  • Softswitch maker Sentito Networks has named Dennis Chateauneuf as its new CEO. Chateauneuf's previous posts include CEO stints at Pelago Networks, CopperCom, and DTI Networks. He takes the place of Terry Wolters, who left the company in March.

  • Polaris Networks is having a bit of trouble hanging onto its senior staff. Recently the switch startup lost its director of product marketing, Sab Gosal, to Verilink Corp. (Nasdaq: VRLK). It also lost its senior VP of sales and marketing, Christopher Cook, to Hatteras Networks Inc. It's safe to say Polaris -- with no announced customers to date -- has been a bit quiet lately.

  • The acting chief financial officer at Quarry Technologies Inc., Greg Riedel, has stepped down to start his own company, a spokesman for Quarry says. The company's last full-time CFO, Joseph A. DiGiantommaso, left back in 2002. Quarry says it has no plans to fill the position.

  • Have you ever wanted to make yourself sound exciting? To just take a big 'ol swim in Lake Me? Hyperchip Inc.'s new president and CFO Dominic DeVeaux does about as good a job of this as Headcount has ever seen, in his recently posted bio. In the bio, the "feisty and focused management consultant" who "pops vitamin pills, networks by playing golf and eats sushi twice a week" announces that he's almost done with his "mandate" at Hyperchip. "The board approved my plan, the shareholders are supporting me and now all I need is some good press about Hyperchip's impressive technology and world class engineering capabilities," the bio states.

  • Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON) has said it is cutting up to 1,100 more jobs, due to the price war on long-distance services. Don't they do this every week?

  • This may be old news, but it was news to us: Kirana Networks, the startup founded by ex-Tachion guys Satish M. Sharma and Sunil Malhotra, has shut down. The company's status as a corporation in Delaware was voided as of March 2004, and its Website is gone. The switching startup had raised $20 million in funding back in January 2001 (see Kirana Networks Inc. ).

  • No need to cover him in mint jelly, but former Force10 Networks Inc. director of technical marketing Marshall Eisenberg is on the lamb. Eisenberg, also a veteran of Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), is seeking a product marketing or product management position with a "leading edge networking organization," according to his resumé, which was delivered to us (by mistake, we assume).

    Here are some other appointments and disappointments of note:

    Okay, it's off to Chicago for us. Until next time, send your employment news tips to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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