Legra's Leg Up?

Another wireless LAN switch startup has replaced its original CEO with an Old Skool executive who has a track record in the wired networking world.

This time it's Legra Systems Inc., which has replaced its founder, Israel Drori, with David Tolwinski. The new Papa Legra has been in the business for 30 years, working at firms from 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS) to Tenor Networks Inc. Drori will become executive vice president of corporate development at the firm (see Legra: The Perfect Prescription? for more on the company's technology).

Perhaps Tolwinski's most relevant experience for his new job is the time he spent as VP of marketing at Synernetics in the mid-nineties. In their marketing bumf, Legra claims that Tolwinski launched the industry’s first Ethernet switch while at the firm, even though most people give that honor to Kalpana (see Vivato's Switch Bitch for more on how the development of the wireless LAN switching market appears to be mirroring the evolution of the Ethernet market).

Tolwinski's last job as CEO of Tenor Networks tracked the rise and fall of a telecom bubble-era startup. Back in 1999, the startup laid out plans to build a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) traffic control box, but it was outstripped by products from established vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Tenor closed its doors in February of this year and sold its intellectual property to Enterasys Networks Inc. (NYSE: ETS) (see Tenor Goes Silent and Enterasys Taps Tenor Assets ). Tolwinski says he took a few months off before the prospect of leading Legra brought him back to the fray.

One of Tolwinski's tasks at Legra will be to land another round of kielbasa for the startup, a process that has already started, he told Unstrung. Legra has currently gathered $8.6 million in VC money (see Switch Startups Seek Funding).

Of course, it is almost obligatory for a switch startup to replace the engineering wonk who founded the company with a more business-savvy character, once the company starts to move from the initial R&D phase to actually marketing the product (see Bandspeed Names Interim CEO, AirFlow Gets Dough, CEO and S.Lo No Go as Aruba CEO).

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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