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Listwin Joins Redback Board

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
11/14/2001

Redback Networks Inc. is starting to look like a halfway house for former Cisco employees.

A recent filing by Redback with the Securities and Exchange Commission states that Don Listwin, the president and CEO of Openwave Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: OPWV), was elected to Redback's board of directors on November 12.

Listwin, a former executive vice president at Cisco, runs Openwave with the help of Kevin Kennedy, Openwave's COO, who used to lead Cisco's service provider business and at one time was considering the CEO job at Redback (see Cisco's DeNuccio Talks With Redback).

Kennedy interviewed for the top job at Redback before landing at Openwave to work with Listwin. Redback's CEO job eventually went to Kevin DeNuccio, who previously worked with both Listwin and Kennedy while leading Cisco's service provider sales efforts.

Another former Cisco executive now playing a visible role at Redback is Georges Antoun, Redback's senior vice president of marketing. Antoun joined Redback shortly after DeNuccio took the Redback CEO job in August.

Redback's band of Cisco vets is working to rally the company around its new SmartEdge 800 router, an edge-routing product that is said to already be generating revenues from three of its 15 trial customers (see Can Redback Come Back? ).

But Redback is challenged to cut operating costs until its gross margins and revenues from its new SmartEdge products and its repositioned subscriber management system (SMS) products reach sustainable levels.

Redback's managers, now bolstered with Listwin's outside advice, seem up to the task. With its layoffs and other cost-cutting measures so far, Redback has cut its operating expenses by $10 million per quarter -- putting operating expenses at between $40 million and $45 million. In order to break even on an operating cash flow basis, the company needs quarterly sales of about $75 million, down from the $90 million breakeven level it had reached earlier this year (see Redback Stock Stages Rally ).

Redback's most recent SEC filing reveals that as of Sept. 30, the company still had 1,012 employees. That number is down from the year-ago total of 1,200, but is still about 200 more than the company's previously stated year-end headcount goal.

In other Redback-related personnel moves this week, Light Reading has learned that Richard Bibb, Redback's senior vice president of worldwide sales, has left the company. Bibb, one of Redback's more memorable memo writers, succeeded Randall Kruep, who left in February to become CEO of Procket Networks Inc. (see Redback's New Sales Strategy and Kruep Leaves Redback for Procket).

Redback declined to comment on Bibb's employment status.

- Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com

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