As if Juniper wasn't already under enough pressure and scrutiny, Shaygan Kheradpir, who has been in the hot seat for less than a year, has quit with immediate effect following a "review by the board of directors of his leadership and his conduct in connection with a particular negotiation with a customer."
Kheradpir's short reign on the Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) throne was tumultuous, starting with a public attack by activist investors, followed by a strategy review, job cuts, executive defections and a capex crunch in the service provider sector:
- Investor to Juniper: 'You Suck'
- Juniper CEO Preps New Roadmap
- Juniper Bows to Investor Pressure, Refocuses
- Juniper Cuts Headcount by 6%, Axes ADC
- Juniper Rides Service Provider Revenue Growth
- Juniper Sells Security Unit, Feels Carrier Pinch
- Juniper Pummeled by Weak Carrier Demand
Kheradpir, who joined from Barclays Bank, was due to give a presentation to media and analysts in London last week, but pulled out at the last minute, with the company citing "illness" as the reason.
Now, it seems, the real reason is that the newly ex-CEO was fighting with the board over his performance and also the way he had interacted with a particular customer: As the company's statement today noted, "The board and Kheradpir have different perspectives regarding these matters."
Juniper's stock had already lost 1.87% on Monday trading to close the day at $21.50 following news of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s intention to allocate less cash to its capex budget in 2015. (See AT&T's Mexican Capex Dance.)
Once the news of Kheradpir's resignation hit the wires, the stock lost a further 0.23% in after-hours trading to hit $21.45. That the reaction to Kheradpir's departure didn't make more of a dent in the stock suggests that Wall Street does not regard this move as majorly negative for the company.
His replacement is Rami Rahim, a Juniper employee of 17 years' standing, whose most recent role was executive vice president and general manager, Juniper Development and Innovation.
"Rami is the right chief executive officer to lead Juniper," stated chairman Scott Kriens in the company's official statement Monday. "He is a talented leader who brings deep instincts about the networking industry, and enormous support from our employees and our customers. Rami has succeeded at every challenge he's ever taken on at Juniper, and we couldn't be more excited about his ability to lead this company."
It now falls on Rahim to steady the Juniper ship and ensure it becomes a major player in SDN and NFV in 2015 while defending the router business that underpins the company's revenues and margins.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading