Optical/IP Networks

Headcount: Such Language!

Headcount can't resist a good euphemism. And we applaud that special class of cubicle dwellers who take special care to say things in the least offensive, most obtuse, way possible. Indeed, if your favorite dinosaur is the Thesaurus, you're our kind of telecom worker.

We're especially pleased with a May 2 press release from ArrayComm Inc., which took extreme care not to alarm (or inform) anyone when it announced a round of firings. The press release, probably crafted by an "administrative assistant," who may have once been a secretary, said the company is "evolving its organization to meet the next phase of business demands." (See ArrayComm Cuts Jobs.)

Normally, we'd make some kind of wry observation here, but we're too busy "showing mirth, joy, or scorn with a smile and chuckle or explosive sound," as Mr. Dictionary puts it.

Okay, enough HR/PR baiting (and it goes without saying we've become masters at baiting). It's time to review some of the past week's most interesting hirings, firings, and other employment news:

  • Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) is cutting about 90 of the 170 people in one of its Vancouver facilities, a company spokesman says. "In the networking R&D group, 20 percent were laid off last Thursday," he writes to Headcount. "The other 80 percent will be laid off on August 1." The changes follow rumors that Alcatel was going to shut down its businesses in Vancouver. Headcount, meanwhile, can think of few things colder than a rumor from Vancouver.

  • Earlier this month, Lasercomm's assets were auctioned off, thus nailing down the coffin lid on the components vendor that raised $77 million in funding and once employed more than 200 people (see Layoffs Level LaserComm). The company's first commercial product, a Hi-Mode Dispersion Management Device (DMD), used complicated physics to turn hard cash into an odorless vapor.

  • Turin Networks Inc. had a layoff on May 14, just one day after being visited by Light Reading editors Scott "The Ax" Raynovich and Phil "The Butter Knife" Harvey. This, as far as Headcount knows, was completely a coincidence. "About 15 percent were let go leaving us with a current headcount of 125," writes Turin spokesman Kevin Wade, who introduced Raynovich and Harvey to the satisfying steak sandwiches at Petaluma's Washoe House. At least he didn't take us to Applebee's (well, come to think of it, Light Reading paid the tab).

  • Wave7 Optics Inc. chairman Hatch Graham has recently taken the CEO job at Arroyo Optics. Graham succeeds George A. Rakuljic, the company's founder and current chief technology officer. Arroyo's Website says Graham is the "interim" CEO, indicating that -- like Graham's tenure at Bandwidth9 Inc. -- the job won't be his permanently.

  • Ditech Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: DITC), purveyor of echo cancellation gear cancellation gear, is selling its Altamar optical subsystems subsidiary. Altamar was founded in March 2001 to sell Ditech's Titanium optical transport systems, a product that was discontinued in September 2002. It won't be clear how many jobs will be affected by the Altamar sale or Ditech's restructuring until after Altamar is sold. Ditech employs 213 now, according to Nadine Melka, Ditech's chief marketing officer and VP of corporate strategy.

  • Corvis Corp. (Nasdaq: CORV) VP of engineering Ed Rissberger left the company more than a week ago, a Corvis spokesman says. Rissberger's duties have fallen to Mike Bortz, executive engineer. Corvis's engineering, customer solutions, and optical switch and subsea transmission product groups all report to Mike Antone, the company's intellectual property attorney. Maybe that's not a bad thing, given Corvis's recent scrapes with the patent police (see Corvis Having a Rough Week).

  • Fred Fromm has surfaced as the new CEO at Gluon Networks Inc., Headcount confirmed today. Fromm, who left Oplink Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: OPLK) in fall of 2002, once held the title of president and CEO of Siemens Information and Communications Networks Inc., but, unfortunately, it was written in German. Fromm succeeds Shirish Patel, who has been Gluon's CEO since way back in February. Patel replaced Jo Anne Miller, who stepped aside after a bout of foot-in-mouth disease (see Headcount: Miller's Oranges).

  • Iolon Inc. has dwindled to about 41 employees, from about 80 at the beginning of the year, according to sources close to the company. The company could not be reached for comment.

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments (and disappointments) from the past several days: Let us know if we missed anything. Send a tip (or, heck, an entire email) to [email protected].

    — Phil "Superfluous Nicknames" Harvey and Marguerite "Bugsy" Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading

    For extensive and up-to-date coverage of Supercomm – before, during, and after the show – visit Light Reading's Supercomm Preview Site.

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    themaninblack 12/5/2012 | 12:00:11 AM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! ...to say that you've become "masters at baiting"?

    Me thinks that you've got to be carefull how you say this - unless you have become "masters of your domain"....
    Jukke 12/5/2012 | 12:00:05 AM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! And what about Multilink Technologies? They are also doing strong reduction.

    cyber_techy 12/5/2012 | 12:00:04 AM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! Is it just a concidence that whenever LR visits a company, it's followed by a layoff?
    BlueWater66 12/5/2012 | 12:00:02 AM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! What about Stratos Lightwaves? There are constant rumors about them laying-off large numbers of employees. I know some of the sales staff has been axed. Maybe Lightreading should visit them .....

    Basic rumors .. shifting engineering to Florida & replacing sales staff with reps. Sounds like they are hurting. They also sold a division.

    But I can't imagine how their warm and generous CEO (choke-gasp....) could allow that to happen :-)
    sudden69 12/5/2012 | 12:00:01 AM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! Most people were let go in first week of May, except for some 10-15, a$$ kissing, money burning, strategy lacking, incompetent founders and senior execs.
    Jukke 12/4/2012 | 11:59:59 PM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! It's happening the same at Multilink. I heard that the senior execs are blidding the company's money before they sell it ...
    startup_shutup 12/4/2012 | 11:59:56 PM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! Same for Atoga. Two years of hype, deception
    with a product on which founders and ass lickers
    can derive salary from Arris merger.

    Acquistion price 500K.. what a joke.

    Examples for fools who rush to to startups
    for gold.
    stuartb 12/4/2012 | 11:59:53 PM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! I guess you would say that Lantern is running out of kerosene?
    Soup 12/4/2012 | 11:59:47 PM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! The obvious trends in events reported in Headcount are
    1. More upper-level executive appoints are made
    2. More worker bees are canned
    Advice: don't work for a start-up, start up a start-up.
    drone387 12/4/2012 | 11:59:45 PM
    re: Headcount: Such Language! "The obvious trends in events reported in Headcount are
    1. More upper-level executive appoints are made
    2. More worker bees are canned
    Advice: don't work for a start-up, start up a start-up."

    Unfortunately, there is a certain grim reaper logic to it all. The chips are done, can the ASIC staff. The hardware is working, kick out the board folks. Trials are going to take forever, shoot the Operations team. (We're running out of money, halve the software and integration departments.)**3 The recovery will happen one of these days, fire the old sales/marketing team and hire a new set of power brown nosers to keep up customer visibility.

    Where is your startup?
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