Headcount: Company Makeover

Makeover shows, such as BBC's What Not to Wear and Bravo's Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, are insanely popular, teaching us there's not a carpet fiber or human hair that is so perfect it can't be mucked with. Or mucked up.

Is making over a troubled company just as fun? Not really, reports one nearly-grizzled sales VP. He says senior execs are now turning their noses up at jobs with companies needing financial restatements and management overhauls. Even in a recession, some paychecks aren't worth the headache.

"I don't mind changing my kids diapers," the sales VP says after reminiscing about his last turnaround experience. "But it's not as fun to clean up after a CEO."

As Headcount is crocheting those immortal words on a pillow, take a look at some of the past week's most interesting hirings, firings, and other telecom industry employment news:

  • DSL may be catching on like wildfire, but big phone companies are still shedding staff to compensate for falling phone service revenues. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is taking a fourth-quarter charge against earnings of about $2.8 billion, associated with a plan under which 21,260 employees voluntarily left the company. SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) says it is cutting up to 4,000 jobs by the end of the year and will take a one-time charge of up to $150 million (see SBC Plans Up to 4,000 Layoffs). And AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) is chopping 12 percent of its staff, about 8,500 jobs, which is 2 percent more than previously announced.

  • Riverstone Networks Inc. founders Romulus Pereira and Piyush Patel have quit the company's board (see Riverstone Founders Resign). In the past year, Riverstone's senior management has turned over completely and the only two board members left from the Pereira-Patel era are Jorge A. del Calvo and Christopher Paisley. The latest additions to the board have been Riverstone's president and CEO Oscar Rodriguez and independent directors William Weyand, Michael P. Ressner, and Sylvia Summers. The company has one independent director slot still open.

  • Innovance Networks is closing next week after failing to secure additional funding, according to several Canadian news reports. This week the company cut 45 workers, leaving it with 10 folks to liquidate the company, the reports say. Innovance CEO Peter Allen didn't say anything –- as usual, he didn't return Headcount's calls. Innovance, which employed more than 310 employees in February 2002, had raised more than $130 million in funding since it opened for business in May 2000.

  • Ceterus Networks may be getting a new CEO soon. The company has hired ex-Valo Systems chief Dave Stehlin for something, according to a couple of well-placed sources, but it's not clear what Stehlin's role will be. Ceterus won't comment on the hire. Speaking of ex-Valo staff, Entrisphere Inc. picked up Valo's former marketing chief, Don McCullough, about a week-and-a-half ago. McCullough is now Entrisphere's director of marketing.

  • Speaking of Entrisphere, former Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV) sales VP Ed Buckley is now Entrisphere's sales boss. Buckley gets the sales duties from Entrisphere's VP of marketing, Peter Bourne, who took the role temporarily when VP of sales Jerry Jackson left a few months ago.

  • LightCross Inc. founder Wenhua Lin has left the company, which merged with Arroyo Optics back in October. Arroyo now has 52 employees and, at the end of the month, the entire company will be under one roof, occupying the LightCross facility in Monterey Park, Calif.

  • Former Crescent Networks CEO Gerald Wesel has taken over as Ellacoya Networks Inc.'s chairman of the board following the departure of CEO Ron Sege. Wesel will assume responsibility for Ellacoya's day-to-day operations until a replacement for Sege is found.

  • Photuris Inc. is still in trials with two RBOCs and one IXC, according to Bill Gartner, its chief operating officer. As part of its bid for larger accounts, the metro DWDM startup confirms it has held meetings with several larger equipment vendors to discuss possible partnerships. "The range of those discussions is all over the map," says Gartner, in response to a question about whether Photuris was trying to find a buyer.

    While Photuris won't say how many folks it has furloughed or cut in recent weeks, two former employees of the company say as many as 55 out of 110 were either laid off, put on leave, or quit the company.

    Ah, well. Better to be furloughed, than covered in fur. And while you ponder that nonsense, take a look at these other recent employement-related headlines:

    Got a Headcount tip? Don’t keep it to yourself. Send a note to [email protected]. 'Tis the season for sharing!

    — Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

  • romeo-foxtrot 12/4/2012 | 11:10:29 PM
    re: Headcount: Company Makeover See the following interview with Peter Allen from the Ottawa Citizen:


    Even in death Innovance is bloated. They have 10 people to liquidate the company, something that normally only takes 3-4 people, and often is only done with 1-2. I guess they must have put in a Nortel "Gate" process to manage the liquidation.
    fancypants 12/4/2012 | 11:10:25 PM
    re: Headcount: Company Makeover Say that three times fast.

    55 out of 110. I hope all 55 were not from one location. They may have violated the WARN Act.


    What is a start-up that's looking for a partner doing with 4 locations? Check out their website, four offices.
    corvisalum 12/4/2012 | 11:10:20 PM
    re: Headcount: Company Makeover This is a terribly mean thread - let these guys be. Even in their demise, you seem to take pleasure.

    I wish them the best. Good job Peter - great attempt to all Innovance guys.


    austin_powers 12/4/2012 | 11:09:25 PM
    re: Headcount: Company Makeover This is sad news for Innovance.
    They were a good team with good ideas - just got caught by the terrible downturn. Peter Allen is a good guy - honest and fair.
    Sign In