Optical/IP Networks

Headcount: Tell It Like It Is

Due to constant telecom budget cuts, several of the words and clever jokes from today's Headcount intro have been cut. Without further ado, here's a look at last week's most interesting hirings and firings:

  • Mahi Networks Inc. says it will be announcing two new business development executives this week: former Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) vice president Pieter Poll and retired SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) vet Al Porta. Poll will be Mahi's vice president of corporate strategy and Porta will be the company's vice president of ILEC market development.

    Poll was VP of emerging technologies at Qwest; he was one of the folks that helped evaluate startups and evolve the carrier's network technology. Having Qwest on your resume these days does raise eyebrows, but Mahi CEO Chris Rust assures us that Poll is "squeaky clean."

    Porta, a 34-year SBC veteran, is coming out of retirement to join Mahi. In his new job, he'll help the startup respond to large carrier requests for proposals (RFPs) while using his connections to give Mahi a boost in the access market.

    Mahi now has 160 employees, and Rust says the company will add another 25 to 30 this year in order to support some upcoming business.

  • Some in Silicon Valley are buzzing that Atiq Raza, founder of Raza Foundries, has a new plan to return to the semiconductor business, where he had great success as president and chief operating officer at Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD).

    Sources say Raza is arranging to take the intellectual property from SiSilk Networks, Maple Optical Systems, and some other failed Raza Foundries startups in order to form a new chip company called RFI Microelectronics.

    Raza, however, disputes the speculation. "Your information is wrong and I am not discussing anything relating to our future," he writes in an email to Headcount. "I consider such information to be sensitive and confidential."

  • Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) spinoff AraLight Inc. closed its doors last week, according to former employees.

    The New Jersey-based company developed a vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) designed to support up to 36 channels on singlemode 850nm fiber ribbon. It spun off from Bell Labs in 2000 and raised about $10 million in funding. During the past year, its headcount dwindled from about 45 employees to around 25 in April 2002 (see AraLight Cuts It Short).

  • Sources close to Lucent say that members of LambdaXtreme and Metropolis EON product lines have been cut. Lucent spokeswoman Jenn McManus confirmed there had been layoffs in the optical division at the Holmdel facility, but wouldn’t give further details. Lucent's layoffs are part of its effort to cut staff to 35,000 by year's end.

    McManus says the company continues to support both LambdaXtreme and Metropolis products, which have already gained support from several carriers. Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has been trialing the LambdaXtreme. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Belgacom, and Slovak Telecom have announced trials for EON. Verizon was rumored to be reconsidering EON in lieu of a product from Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) (see Tellabs: Alcatel's Silent Partner at Sprint?).

  • Metro-Optix Inc. says it cut 17 percent of its staff last week. The cuts mostly came from the engineering staff and the company now employs about 140 people.

    “We reached the point where we now have five solid differentiating factors on our products,” says Kris Shankar, vice president of marketing for Metro-Optix. “We don’t need to add a lot of incremental features to the product, so we felt it was best to focus on sales and marketing.”

  • We now have specific numbers related to the merger of NeoPhotonics Corp. and Lightwave Micro (see NeoPhotonics Buys Lightwave Micro). In September, roughly 190 of Lightwave's staff of 240 were given notice that their jobs would be gone by November. Meanwhile, the retained employees joined NeoPhotonics, which had already begun the merger process.

    In the end, the merged company will combine fewer than 50 employees from Lightwave, and another 50 from NeoPhotonics, for a tally of less than 100. Neophotonics CEO Tim Jenks adds that NeoPhotonics kept "key parts of the management and technical teams in Lightwave" and that the company has continued the production of Lightwave's existing products.

  • Whatever happened to the good old days when people just got fired? These days there's so much sugar-coating going on, investors and media types risk diabetes every time a company "downsizes." Here’s a short, sugary list of some of the more creative ways that top execs are using to say that they’ve just given a bunch of employees the boot:

    Headcount would like to hear your favorite, sugar-sweet ways to say "layoff." Post them on the message board below and, just for grins, make up some new ones and we'll contemplate using them in future stories.

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments, disappointments, and workplace issues from the past week: If we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Marguerite Reardon, Phil Harvey, Craig Matsumoto, and Mary Jander, Senior Editors, Light Reading

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    gumbydammit 12/5/2012 | 12:31:21 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is
    I just got informed that I'll be part of an upcoming "redeployment"! Happy, happy me.
    Is that similar to "being released back into the wild!"

    Gotta work through this anger stage somehow. :(
    exObserver 12/5/2012 | 12:31:20 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is Has anyone heard the status of Xalted Networks. Last news I had were that they were in Chapter 11 and down to six employees.

    BobbyMax 12/5/2012 | 12:31:19 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is It is very Metro-Optix is still in business. Who is providing them the funds? Will anyone buy Metri-Optix products?
    ODH 12/5/2012 | 12:31:18 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is
    that's what I read somewhere some executive was refering his action.
    Iipoed 12/5/2012 | 12:31:18 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is who cares?
    ThurstonHowell3rd 12/5/2012 | 12:31:16 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is As an employer remember to make sure to convey the eminent demise of the employee's position in as professional a manner as possible -

    Why... take what happened to me for instance - I was asked to fly into Newark, NJ to meet my boss - and to bring my laptop...

    Now I'd say making an employee fly in for his own shooting is nothing short classic - and a real symbol of absolute professionalism -

    Makes me remember my old boss as the Yard jockey of High Tech Sales VPs that he is - Not that I'm bitter...
    optical_man 12/5/2012 | 12:31:10 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is Xalted has taken down their large sign off the building on the Tollway in far North Dallas. I always saw that sign (right in front of the tollbooths) on my way to EDS (when I go there) and thought "ya know, within a mile or so of the largest Baptist congregation in the United States, I don't know if that's the best thing to have up on a building". Something about pride coming before the fall, and a little dollop of blasphemy. Maybe these old DSC guys should've opened shop somewhere else. Seems the market figured the same thing.
    digerato 12/5/2012 | 12:31:09 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is 'Made redundant' is the standard way to describe layoffs by British-English speakers. Nothing new or unusual about it.

    BetweenTheCandleAndTheStar 12/5/2012 | 12:31:08 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is How is Metro Optix like a cockroach? The only way you know it's there is shine a little light in its direction. It almost seems like they were forced to acknowledge their layoff from the Headcount posts of last week. My source in texas says that the company had good technology at one time, but the software was delayed. The Sales and Marketing organizations are reported to be weak as well, hence no major announcements of top tier customers. So BobbyMax, and I hate to say this, I agree with your question(gulp, I feel so dirty)...Will anyone buy "Metri-Optix" products?
    belaku 12/5/2012 | 12:31:08 AM
    re: Headcount: Tell It Like It Is I happened to speak with one of the big technical guys in Xalted. He said that they were expecting 10 mil this year and can sustain for two years. They have opened up shop in India big time.

    How much truth is into that? will there be any customers for Xalted?
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