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Optical/IP

The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking

The Comeback Kid

Kevin Kalkhoven Kevin Kalkhoven is the first to extricate himself from the dreaded Has-Been Bin and get a second term as a Mover and Shaker. (Noam Lotan take note: It can be done.)

Kalkhoven was binned after he quit his job as CEO of JDS Uniphase Inc. (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) last May and disappeared into the sunset, talking about restarting his motor-racing career and doing more flying, skiing, and scuba diving.

He ended doing all of those energetic-sounding things and taking another crack at being a big gun. And although it’s way too early to say whether Kalkhoven is going to succeed, you've got to wonder at his pendulous spheroids.

Kalkhoven’s first crack at being a big gun proved astoundingly successful. He and his pals at Uniphase, a boring gas laser maker, recognized the need for an independent manufacturer of optical components and set out on a worldwide acquisition binge to achieve that goal.

As we all now know, Kalkhoven succeeded in a very big way. He also managed to engineer his departure from JDSU at a choice moment – a few months before everything optical started going sour (a development that he says he also saw coming).

Now, Kalkhoven’s back on a positive track, saying that telecom access networks are going to undergo a revolution in the next five years. And he’s putting his money where his mouth is, by founding and investing in startups developing technologies in this field (see Kalkhoven's Five-Year Plan).

So far, his investments include Blaze Network Products Inc. (which is already OEMing components to Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in an unannounced deal), Iolon Inc., Innovance Networks, and WaveSplitter Technologies Inc. Others are in the pipeline.

When Kalkhoven told Light Reading about his plans in April, he drew a pretty skeptical response from users of this site. One of them noted that JDSU is now having to "amputate" some of Kalhoven’s "mistakes" (see yea huh). Another charged Kalkhoven with indulging in "a big ego play" that failed to recognize today’s totally different business climate (see dreaming away).

"I wish I’d kept my mouth shut now," Kalkhoven said recently (by chance, he phoned Light Reading as this was being written). Au contraire, we say. Let it all hang out.

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MrLight 12/4/2012 | 9:33:42 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking Yes for startups, if they have the right product, at the right time and at the right price.

However, it looks like the "The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking" needs updating.

We should at least have someone from Cisco, Ciena, Juniper (well they will get more optical), Nortel/lucent (yoyr pick), JDSU, Bookham, Huawei, Tellabs/Fujitsu

also a VC name, a customer name (who is building an optical Ethernet network say), and finally someone in one of the new up and coming startups.

MrLight :-Q,wanting some light shed on the new movers and shakers
actual 12/4/2012 | 8:20:46 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking Absolutely amazing piece of garbage. Lightreading is becoming the National Enqirer of Optical Networking
NoObjectivity 12/4/2012 | 8:20:45 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking Crappy, desparate pseudo-humour on Russo and Lucent, nonsensical tech ranking...these guys are sinking.
fatchance 12/4/2012 | 8:20:43 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking This must be a slow news day, at least give us some real scandals or at least make up something outrageous that will get the message board burning. You can always print a retraction later.
noitall 12/4/2012 | 8:20:42 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking he's not only very smart, and very connected but he's a humble, decent guy who people can trust. worldview is the best vc firm you've never heard of, that's true, but it's for a good reason: they spend more time with their companies than promoting themselves.
noitall 12/4/2012 | 8:20:37 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking what has cisco done in optics???? the cerent box is the ONLY real success story they've ever had and now that product is under fire from multiple vendors, they have no products they've built that are really compelling under his leadership...and anyone who's serious about optics knows cisco's product line, across the board, sucks....pirelli? shut down. qeyton? shut down. they are nowhere in optics! is lr on the cisco payroll?
optical-tracker 12/4/2012 | 8:20:35 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking Keep looking for Joe Furgerson and let us know where he is. I have a marketing position he would be great for.
bear 12/4/2012 | 8:20:32 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking that's part of the fun in it...chill out and stay a while.
bear 12/4/2012 | 8:20:32 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking agreed
LightCycle 12/4/2012 | 8:20:31 PM
re: The Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Optical Networking Here's a little kicker on Huber.

Apparently in recent months hes been introducing himself to potential Carrier customers as "...I co-founded CIENA..."

Nice foot-in-the-door Huber!
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