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Juniper Revives COO's Office

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is giving this COO thing another shot.

The company announced late today that it's (re-)creating the chief operating officer's role, filling it with Stephen Elop, former CEO of Macromedia and -- ever since that company's acquisition by Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) -- president of Adobe's worldwide field operations. (See Juniper Names COO.)

Elop announced his resignation from Adobe in June, just as the company was reporting disappointing earnings and a downtrodden forecast. Adobe officials at the time said Elop, who committed to stay until Dec. 5, was leaving to pursue other career options.

Elop will be among a handful of executives reporting directly to CEO Scott Kriens, the others being CFO Robert Dykes, EVP of human resources Steven Rice, and CTO Pradeep Sindhu.

Juniper first created the COO spot in 2002, assigning it to Lloyd Carney, a Nortel Networks Ltd. veteran whose resume traced back to Wellfleet days. (See Juniper Creates COO Position.) The move was something of a milestone, as Kriens had famously attended to day-to-day operations himself. But Carney left in 2003 to become CEO of Micromuse, staying on as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) acquired that company. (See Headcount: Survey Sez.)

Juniper doesn't appear to have had a COO since. Jim Dolce, former CEO of the acquired Unisphere Networks, was splitting the operations job with Carney for a time but took the title of executive vice president of field operations. (See The Face of the New Juniper.)

Juniper officials weren't immediately available for comment.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:16:54 PM
re: Juniper Revives COO's Office Obviously we'll be trying to talk with Elop soon. In the meantime ... anybody want to comment on his Macromedia/Adobe tenure?
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:16:53 PM
re: Juniper Revives COO's Office With a boatload of cash in hand, why would a CEO want to step down to a COO position? Secondly, what does a software co CEO bring to a service provider-oriented network hardware vendor's operations?
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:16:53 PM
re: Juniper Revives COO's Office To the first question -- Elop was CEO of Macromedia less than a year; the acquisition got announced months after he stepped up. He was COO before that, and judging from his title, he did essentially the work of a COO after the acquisition. So, it's not like he's a hardened, grizzled CEO.

But yes, the usual process is, "once a CEO, always a CEO," isn't it? Assuming we eventually get time to talk with Elop, that's something I want to ask him about.

As is Materialgirl's second question, about software guy Elop making the jump to hardware.

Elop left pretty much 1 year after the Adobe buy, so it seems like an intentional move. We'll see what he says his plans were.
lightreceding 12/5/2012 | 3:10:30 PM
re: Juniper Revives COO's Office It seemed strange that a COO with no network experience would get the job at Juniper. After thinking about what Elop's special experience is it makes sense. He organized Macromedia to be ready to sell to Adobe, so he has experience selling to an applications company.

Given the recent change in tone from Juniper, going from being all about winning to being all about cost savings and not being in applications I think Elop's job at Juniper is to get the company ready to sell to a software company like Symantec.
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