Optical/IP Networks

Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici

Brian McCormack, Avici Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7) senior vice president of sales, has left the company, Light Reading has confirmed.

Avici has made no formal announcement of McCormack’s departure and says it doesn’t plan to. “We didn’t really view it as a material event,” says Esmeralda Swartz, Avici’s director of strategic marketing.

“Brian left on his own accord to pursue another opportunity,” says Swartz. Swartz also says that no replacement has been named “or talked about.”

McCormack, who has been traveling the past two days, left a message for Light Reading today confirming that he left Avici on his own and "under the best possible circumstances." Executive recruiters have told Light Reading they are now shopping McCormack's resumé to their clients.

The news highlights the pressure that comes with a sales position that requires selling against two giants, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc.’s (Nasdaq: JNPR). In order to grow, Avici needs to carve out market share from either Juniper or Cisco in the core router market.

According to a recent report by The Dell'Oro Group, Avici shipped $8.8 million worth of WAN (wide area network) core routers in Q4 2000, compared to Cisco’s $540.7 million and $279.5 million.

For its most recent quarter, Avici beat Wall Street's expectations and raised its sales guidance for the year to $90 million from $70 million.

Prior to joining Avici, McCormack held a variety of positions with DSC Communications [now Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA)]. Earlier, he was a regional manager for Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and a sales vice president at Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT). He also worked at IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) for 12 years.

McCormack reported to Steve Kaufman, who just took on the dual role of president and chief operating officer in January. Kaufman joined Avici from Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) in July 2000 as COO (see Avici Adds to Management Team).

Now that McCormack has left, the folks that used to report to him -- Tony Casalena, vice president of North American sales and Russ Klabouch, vice president of international sales – now report to Kaufman.

Merrill Lynch analyst Sam Wilson says that McCormack’s departure is “probably not an earth shattering event,” noting that some senior defections are always expected when a company has been public for less than a year.

Avici debuted in the public markets in late July 2000 and once traded as high as 174.50. Avici shares closed at 15.12 yesterday and in early afternoon trading on Thursday, the stock had fallen 2.09 (13.8%) to 13.03, a new all-time low.

Wilson says that -- given Avici’s unprofitability, its high customer concentration, and the fact that all of its customers have equity stakes in the company -- there are reasons to be concerned about the challenges it faces.

-- Phil Harvey, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com
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Wonder 12/4/2012 | 8:51:56 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici Hi Lightreading:

You guys promised you'd reveal all of your backers (per Scott Raynovich posting.)

Are you now backing down from this? Are you waiting for the truth to come out other ways?

You guys really gotta reveal your affiliations - it explains so much of your editorial. The relationship between advertising and positive spin is nearly 100%...


The Entire Reading Public
bigfoot 12/4/2012 | 8:51:54 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici Just out of curiosity, what difference does it make who their backers are?

This site is a gossip source, it's not like they make themselves out as the New York Times or anything...

I check this site every day, not because I expect to see any prize winning literature, because I'm interested in the industry scuttlebutt. Take me off your "Entire Reading Public" list.
Steve Saunders 12/4/2012 | 8:51:54 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici Wonder,

If you're asking about VC funding, we received a modest first round from LightSpeed (formerly Weiss Peck and Greer) back in February 2000. We never spent the money because we've been profitable from day one.

That's it. No mystery. No secrets. All you had to do was ask.

froggy 12/4/2012 | 8:51:52 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici Steve,

It's the ransom of success. Some people don't like the fact that LightReading is becoming the reference for optical networking news.
Why do I read LR ? Because I find information that I don't find anywhere else !
...just make sure it is accurate
opti fool 12/4/2012 | 8:51:52 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici Screw the accuracy. people read LR for the dirt.

if you cant tell the diff between rumor and fact, its your problem. Besides, rumors generate responses and force out the truth anyway.

LR, keep up the good work.

Steve Saunders 12/4/2012 | 8:51:51 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici DR,

Thanks for the feedback.

Very interesting comment re: sensationalistic verbiage. I think you may have a point, there.

Steve Saunders 12/4/2012 | 8:51:51 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici Froggy,


Re: accuracy. We're trying!


bigfoot 12/4/2012 | 8:51:48 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici "The NYTimes? Anyone who believes everything they read from any source is asking for it. The Times thinks it's the center of the goddamn universe."

Wow, you WSJ journal readers sure are sharp...only I'm not sure who your comments are a knock on - the Times or me. My point was that I don't think daily readers are expecting to be reading a mathematics text book.

I think if you substitute the WSJ for the NYT, my point stays the same. The value of the site lies in timeliness and speculative nature of the reporting. It gives readers a chance to keep up with trends before the lame trade rags have a chance to water down events with hindsight.
whalenc 12/4/2012 | 8:51:43 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici Ditto to DarkReading. Just the facts, mam. The publisher of El Norte in Monterrey once told me he had "declared war on all adjectives..."
Bstingfinger 12/4/2012 | 8:51:37 PM
re: Sales Chief Sneaks Out of Avici In any deficit market it's not the fact of past existence but the probability of future value. Denigration of any new "point of light" isn't accurate reporting but destructive criticism; which in the end is only a boon for those who wish to display a controlling egocentric view. Encouraged and expanded negativity benefits no-one, for soon many will lose interest in the products and the market which is the basis for initial existence and acceptance. Fair and accurate reporting with a tolerance for innovation regardless of personal necessity is the key for an expanding business arena, market and economy. Now is not the time for a journey into the dark side. Once the barrier of truth is breached, the return to its embrace is arduous.
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