Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On

The elections have come and gone, and Headcount thinks it may take an act of Congress to get calls back from shrinking companies. Of course, the intrigue only makes things more fun for Headcount, who takes to a mystery like Winona to an armful of fresh threads.

So here's a roundup of recent hirings and firings -- free for the taking:

  • Strange things are afoot at Corona Networks Inc., as we noted last week (see Headcount: Scary Times Continue ). Sources say the company cut its staff to about 70 people (from 115) last week. Its office lease and cash run out at the end of the month.

    Corona was close to selling itself to Zhone Technologies Inc., a deal that was suggested by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), an investor in both companies, sources say. They claim a new term sheet was making the rounds and Zhone managers were already kicking tires and deciding which Corona folks they should keep. However, Corona was also working to close a technology development deal with Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), similar to the one Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) nearly nabbed some time ago (see Redback, Alcatel Close to Alliance).

    Evidently, something went awry and sources say Corona asked the Zhone folks to leave, at which point Zhone pulled the plug on its offer. Now Corona has no birds in hand and none in the bush, either. Will NEA figure out a way to patch things up? Will Corona be forced to go it alone? Unfortunately, the folks from Corona and NEA are dodging calls, but neither side can hide from Headcount's sources. Stay tuned.

  • Doug Dickerson, a former entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) at InterWest Partners and CenterPoint Venture Partners, is now VP of marketing and sales at Cyneta Networks Inc., an equipment company making content switches for wireless networks. Before his EIR job, Dickerson was VP of marketing and business development at Chorum Technologies Inc.

    Headcount wonders if Doug will miss carrying EIR business cards from two different firms, which gave him better odds at winning the weekly free lunch drawing at area delis.

  • Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) confirmed last week that it has cut staff to 585 from 711. The cuts were across the board and worldwide, the company says. Headcount notes that with the newly emptied desks, Redback's empire of unused office space continues to swell (see Real Estate Nightmare).

  • Tellium Inc. (Nasdaq: TELM) is still shedding staff at an alarming rate, we hear. The company won't call us back, but its SEC filings show that Tellium has cut staff by about 40 percent since March 2002. During its latest conference call, Tellium managers said the company employs 321, which is down 213 from its March 2002 headcount of 534.

  • Headcount sources say Cenix Inc. has cut more than 30 employees from both its Allentown, Pa., and Irvine, Calif., offices. "The Irvine office will eventually be closed and any employees remaining in the office must relocate... if they wish to keep their jobs," writes one former Cenix worker. Cenix won't return phone calls, but we wonder whether relocating to chase a job at a shrinking startup is as much fun as catching a falling knife.

  • Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) insiders complain to Headcount that the company is chopping heads with wild abandon and no one's reporting it.

    The reality is a tad less dramatic. In July, Juniper said it would cut 10 percent of the combined Juniper/Unisphere entity. The combined company employed about 1,800 people, Juniper says.

    On its last earnings call, Juniper announced a headcount of 1,658, a figure it said would remain flat. Despite what Juniper said on its call, the company could still cut another 40 or so jobs and stay within its original guidance.

    Ah, there's a comforting bit of math for a Monday. Aspirin, anyone?

  • Bill Diamond, president and CEO, split from WaveSplitter Technologies Inc. about three weeks ago. Diamond had been at the company since June 2000, and his duties are now being handled by founder Sheau Sheng Chen. Also gone is CFO Bruce Pollock, who recently joined Avanex Corp. (Nasdaq: AVNX) (see Avanex Gets New CFO). Bob Shine, Wavesplitter's director of marketing, won't divulge Wavesplitter's headcount. "It’s certainly less that it was last year," he says.

    Following are a few more recent appointments (and disappointments) that caught our attention: Now it's your turn. If there's a significant hiring or firing that was missing from this column, send a tip to [email protected].

    If you notice that anything else is missing, you might check Winona's closet.

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading
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    Mike Lazar 12/4/2012 | 9:19:53 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On Ever present Bobbymax wrote

    "Corona does not have any customer as of new. No public carrier would buy any product from Corona.


    Corona has burnt so much money that the investors would not make any money. None of Corona's products have rich features. In addition, its management is not well known.

    The D day is approaching fast - it will be interesting how it all ends now. The management team may not be well known or experienced, but their no-scruples, nothing barred approach to self preservation is proven beyond doubt. All they need is to make just one last move to make it for themselves. They couldn't care less if all other employees or investors were to be sent on one way trip to Mars.</snip..snip>
    flanker 12/4/2012 | 9:20:34 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On bobbymax:

    can we get a comment or what?

    BobbyMax 12/4/2012 | 9:21:23 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On Corona does not have any customer as of new. No public carrier would buy any product from Corona. The field of edge routers is very competive and there about thirty vendors in the area of edge routers. It is even hard to think BEA (a VC company) would even fund Corona.

    It is very surprising that BEA would attempt to sell Corona to Zhone. Since the CEO of Zhone sold Ascend Communications for about $24 Billion dollars to Lucent. In spite of spending a huge sum of money Lucent did make any money from Ascend Products.

    Corona has burnt so much money that the investors would not make any money. None of Corona's products have rich features. In addition, its management is not well known.

    It is very surprising that Corona got funding. When the money is gone, Corona will simply disappear without any trace.
    opticalman 12/4/2012 | 9:21:59 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On Just heard that Appian had a 50% layoff today. Anyone care to comment?
    GhostBuster 12/4/2012 | 9:22:01 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On Just heard FIBR recently lost some critical deals to NT both in Asia and US market (e.g. see the anouncement from NT today on Cox contract). Anyone can confirm this? Isn't Cox one of its "strategic customers"? If these are true, I'd bet FIBR's days as an independent entity are numbered.
    themaninblack 12/4/2012 | 9:22:12 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On If the cleaning crew is all that is left, then the Quaker Oats Man must be sweeping the floor. Of course, cutting V shape patterns in the floor with the vacuum is pretty much like architectural work for the QOM...
    tookl4wrds 12/4/2012 | 9:22:13 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On Gore is still trying to sell that operation, but they have been steadily reducing headcount.
    next-gen-wisdom 12/4/2012 | 9:22:14 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On Someone know about Turin's layoffs?
    bb55 12/4/2012 | 9:22:15 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On As far I know Sorrento is still alive (after axing some jobs earlier this year) due to cards' supply. This though will not support company for too long. Next 2 quarters will be very critical for them.
    Sorrento went through the stock reverse split, and they loosing, so there is no recovery coming soon.
    jyckyllhyde 12/4/2012 | 9:22:17 PM
    re: Headcount: Shopping, Lifting, Moving On Hey, how come nothing was noted in Light Reading that Firstwave Secure Intelligent Optical Networking otherwise known as FWION located in Holmdel, NJ and Reston, VA is basically shutdown. The only people left are the cleaning people not to be confused with some of the VPs. This is despite the fact they announced a major federal contract on Light Reading previously.
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