Headcount: Scary Times Continue


Halloween has passed, but the telecom world is as scary as ever. Here's a rundown of last week's hirings and firings, via "Headcount," our new editorial vehicle whose tires are being constantly kicked:

  • The artist formerly known as Williams – WilTel Communications Group Inc. (OTC: WTELV) – has handed the reigns over to a rookie. Jeff Storey succeeds Howard Janzen, who piloted the company to bankruptcy, as WilTel's new CEO and president (see Williams Bolts Out of Bankruptcy ). This is a pivotal moment for WilTel. Storey has never been in the chief's chair before and WilTel is fresh off a Chapter 11 exit with $375 million in funding. So why are Wall Street's yawns so deafening?

  • Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) says it will cut about 1,000 positions, or 13 percent of its overall U.S. workforce, by the end of the year.

  • LuxN Inc. has cut some heads recently, bitterly explaining that recent reports of its inroads with SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) led to increased competition from Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) (see Sources: LuxN Close to SBC Deal). "Like any other company in this industry we've had to readjust and cut budgets," says Paul Zalloua, LuxN's VP of marketing.

  • Lynx Photonic Networks now employs 58 workers, down from 75 just a few days ago. The company has "taken the important strategic decision to ensure that the current funding level, in 'worst case scenario' planning, takes Lynx into 2006 and beyond," writes Dick Sadai, the company's former senior VP of business development, in an email note to just about everyone.

    Regrettably, Lynx PR maven Kelly Williams was one of the full-timers cut. Williams was always – well, usually – a good sport when Light Reading picked on Lynx for its hairline, its headlights, or its cracked rear-view.

  • Headcount hears from several sources that Rapid5 Networks Inc. has shut down. It's not clear how many jobs were affected. In August 2001, Rapid5 said its then spanking new digs could accommodate up to 150 employees.

    The company hasn't returned calls yet, but PR guy Matt McGinnis admits he's no longer pulling a paycheck. "I'm not going to be able to comment," McGinnis says. "I have my hands tied." Headcount wonders how he picked up the phone.

  • What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is going on at Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU)? Light Reading has reported that up to 180 jobs may have been snuffed, as the company ditches its TMX 880 business (see Lucent Chops TMX 880). Still, our sources won't stop dropping hints that another shoe is about to drop. Will Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR) buy a chunk of its ATM unit (see Cisco, Sycamore Circling Lucent's ATM)? Is Lucent's SpringTide product about to wash ashore and die of loneliness? Stay tuned.

  • Several publications have reported that Catena Networks Inc. has cut more employees, this time as many as 50 people. Voila! We have just become one of those publications.

  • Kestrel Solutions Inc. has reached the next chapter in its life story: Chapter 11. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in San Jose on October 21.

  • Finally, is Zhone Technologies Inc. close to acquiring Corona Networks Inc.? Sources say Corona employees are fearing the worst because Zhone's modus operandi is to follow a buy with a big swing of the axe. Zhone won't confirm or deny the rumor, but it wouldn't end a call without exuding some cockiness. "We've done seven acquistions to date," says Zhone marketing VP David Markowitz. "Who will get to be lucky number eight? It's been three months – I think we are probably due for another one."

  • In the telecom world, says one glum PR wag, "things would have to improve dramatically just to suck." Headcount couldn't agree more.

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading
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    DarkWriting 12/4/2012 | 9:23:52 PM
    re: Headcount: Scary Times Continue When are you all going to stop being surprised and figure out that these guys are all liars and whores. It is part of the job requirement! That is how business is done in this country no matter what anyone tells you.

    fleshpeddler 12/4/2012 | 9:23:47 PM
    re: Headcount: Scary Times Continue
    Thank you Mr. Bitter.

    What's wrong with a company trimming some dead wood? From what I can tell these aren't layoffs, but selective removal.
    DarkWriting 12/4/2012 | 9:23:39 PM
    re: Headcount: Scary Times Continue Fleshpeddler,

    There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with trimming some dead wood if that is really what is happening. It's the lying that I have a problem with and I'm not even saying that is not expected from corporate executives who have to compete with the other liars out there. All I'm saying is that we all need to understand this so we are not surprised when it happens and that we will have to take on that personna if we expect to join their ranks. Hopefully I have made myself clear this time.

    By the looks of your alias, I would assume you are a headhunter. Given the experiences I have had with headhunters, I would also assume you already know exactly what I am talking about. If you are not a headhunter, my sincerest apologies and congratulations.

    lightgrieving 12/4/2012 | 9:23:32 PM
    re: Headcount: Scary Times Continue Anyone have any news about layoffs in Nortel's Optera Metro business ?

    I heard Vish Nadal (sp?), the optera metro chief architect, recently left the company (I heard he's at Cisco) - is this a clue to the future ? The last bit of credibility metro had just left with him,

    kwheel2003 12/4/2012 | 9:22:32 PM
    re: Headcount: Scary Times Continue DarkWriting,

    A headhunter ?

    Or a CEO ???

    MrLight 12/4/2012 | 9:13:22 PM
    re: Headcount: Scary Times Continue lightgrieving your statement" heard Vish Nadal (sp?), the optera metro chief architect, recently left the company (I heard he's at Cisco)" is incorrect.

    He is not at Cisco but in Nortel wireless. And in regards to "optera metro chief architect", check with "Bezlebutt" on this board what Vish's role was. I can't see how Vish was what you say based on the fact that my sources say Vish came from Nortel's voice switching group, Succession (sp?), to OPTera Metro in late spring of 2001, and left a year later or so.

    But either way lightgrieving don't grieve, Nortel has a deep pool of Optical people to draw on to replace him.

    MrLight :-)
    optopuss 12/4/2012 | 9:12:15 PM
    re: Headcount: Scary Times Continue The axe came down on Tropic today. A total of 40 people were let go in R&D.
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