Redback's Barsema to Lead Startup

Dennis Barsema, the former CEO of Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) who led that company through a successful IPO, has joined Onetta, a stealth-mode startup specializing in long-distance optical subsystems.

Sources at Redback confirmed that Barsema, who has been serving as vice chairman of the board of directors there since early July 2000, started with Onetta about a month ago. He'll stay on the board of Redback, spokespeople said.

Onetta's spokesperson, VP of marketing Robert MacDonald, neither denied nor confirmed the appointment but said the company would be making some announcements later this month. "There's nothing official out yet," he said.

Barsema has a reputation as a focused and aggressive leader in technology companies, and his next move has been eagerly anticipated. Before joining Redback, he worked his way up through various sales positions at a slew of companies, including Burroughs, Storage Technology, Paradyne, Primary Access, Softswitch, and Centigram. He hit the spotlight by serving as CEO during the three-year stretch when Redback went public and purchased Siara Systems. When he stepped down as CEO at Redback, ceding the position to Vivek Ragavan, Pierre Lamond, chairman of Redback's board, cited his "tremendous contribution to the growth and success of Redback Networks, from its early evolution as a private company to guiding it through an extremely successful IPO, and most recently, managing the tremendous expansion the Company has experienced in the last several quarters."

Onetta is in stealth mode but seems to be building an impressive team. Founder Yan Sun, now VP of engineering, is a former senior optical networking engineer at Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) and Bell Labs. MacDonald formerly worked at New Focus Inc. And Mike Hodges, clearly listed as "Interim CEO" on the company's Website, held similar temporary posts at Bandwidth9 Inc. and at Tellium Inc., where he was interim CEO from February 1999 to January 2000.

Onetta's backers include Matrix Partners and Sequoia Capital.

-- Mary Jander, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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