Optical/IP Networks

Headcount: Good News, Bad News

Headcount is convinced that the most brilliant mockery of workaday life is a BBC series called, The Office. As the lead character, office manager David Brent, is cutting jobs, he says: "Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that Neil will be taking over both branches, and some of you will lose your jobs... On a more positive note, the good news is, I’ve been promoted, so... every cloud... You’re still thinking about the bad news aren’t you?”

On that note, here are this week's items:

  • Photuris Inc. is set to announce this week that Charles Childers has taken the CEO post. Childers replaces Mike Pisterzi, who was formerly CEO of AccessLAN, which was sold to Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFC) (Nasdaq: AFCI). The company also says it has closed the Series C financing of $40 million that it has been talking up since September (see Photuris Metro Box May Draw $40M). Stay tuned to Light Reading for the full story.

  • Just wondering... What is Steven Akers' new company working on? The former chief technology officer of Lucent's wireline business unit has started a new company called Auraria Corp. Akers gained fame as the founder and chief technology officer of SpringTide, which Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) acquired for $1.3 billion in 2000, cancelling its product late last year (see Lucent Silences SpringTide).

    Anyway, Akers, who is also on the board of Tazz Networks Inc., is an expert in IP switching and all things wireline, but we haven't yet got a line on this new outfit. So, if you hear some good stuff about Auraria, drop us a line.

  • Here's another outfit Headcount is curious about: Hammerhead Systems Inc. They're billing themselves as a next-generation data equipment vendor. Let's take these guys out of stealth mode early, shall we? If you know what they're up to, do tell. And, as an aside, does "next-generation" imply that our children will be the first to see it?

  • AirFiber Inc., one of the first free-space optics vendors to make a splash, shut its doors on Friday. Spokesman Jeff Mordock confirmed the closure; he was packing his office when Headcount called. AirFiber raised about $92 million in funding from big names like Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, and General Motors. The 50 employees left at the company were informed of the shutdown on February 19th. The company's current products will be supported by some other entity, Mordock says, but he won't yet give specifics.

  • After reporting a $369 million quarterly loss, Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) announced Friday that it is cutting an additional 4,000 jobs. The company has cut more than 10,000 jobs since it spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) in June 2000.

  • We've finally nabbed some headcount numbers from ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL), which we profiled last week (see ECI Goes Back to the Future). ECI, overall, has 3,230 total employees. The Lightscape Networks Ltd. optical networks division employs 1,153 folks. The Inovia Telecoms Ltd. broadband access division employs 578 people. There are 232 people working at InnoWave and another 330 at its subsidiary, ECtel Ltd. (Nasdaq: ECTX).

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments, disappointments, and workplace issues from the past several days: The good news: That's all we have this week. If we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading
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