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Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom

Light Reading
11/18/2003
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Is Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) CEO Bobby Johnson a bully? A tyrant? A genius?

We actually met up with that legendary Bobby once, but all we got was the calm, plain-spoken guy who didn't seem to flinch in the face of the telecom recession (see Bobby Johnson, Foundry Networks). I mean, he just seemed like an engineer to us.

Whatever the case behind closed doors, Bobby Johnson the Manager is doing all the right things to keep Foundry from foundering in tough times. Analysts say the demand for the company's family of Layer 3 switches and a new upgrade cycle among its customers will support growth into the fourth quarter.

The company also continues to hold a leading position in higher-margin 10-Gbit/s Ethernet products. And, with per-port prices on 10-Gbit/s Ethernet dropping from about $42,000 last year to about $12,000 today, demand is picking up, particularly among service providers. Foundry is positioned well here, even though it gets most of its revenues from enterprise and government sales (see Sell-Side Fêtes Foundry).

And that's partly why Johnson is on our list. Foundry moved as effortlessly as any company could between the service provider market and the enterprise market very early on during the recession and remained profitable throughout the coldest months of the telecom winter. Whenever the market for service provider gear comes back, analysts are betting that Foundry will be among those winning the big deals.

The other reason Johnson makes our list is his sort of Bobby Knight-ish reputation as a volatile, focused manager.

And then there are the intangibles. And by "intangibles," we mean the load of stuff his backers sent us that we haven't fact checked. The claims include:

  • "[Foundry has the] lowest employee turnover in the industry."
  • "[Johnson] still puts in more hours than 90 percent of his employees."
  • "[He] takes direct customer calls whether they be sales or service issues, makes as many sales calls as possible, [and] still signs off on a majority of customers' purchase orders."
  • "[Foundry] meets [the] majority of specified release dates."
And, yes, he wears a cape to work. Or maybe a butcher's apron. Whichever it is, Bobby Johnson, for now, is our definition of a Mover and Shaker.

 
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sir-wish-pro-wide-her
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sir-wish-pro-wide-her,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:43 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
1. You guys are seem a bit harsh on those that seem to have fallen from grace
2. Is there a typo in Really Horrible Haiku"? Is it supposed to be Hagger The Horrible?
3. I think you missed one more deserving entry in the "Has Been Bin". I would have included the lightreading staff member that had picked the previous top 10 movers and shakers :-)
btierney
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btierney,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:42 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
oops was refering to anderson and ferri
btierney
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btierney,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:42 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
and these guys really thought they could walk on water....
DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
You admit that Lucent isn't performing well and yet you suggest we put Pat on our list because she's a woman?

Or because Fortune called her a powerful woman?

That sounds like the wrong thing to do for all the wrong reasons.

ph

P.S. Fortune magazine called Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years.
Tony Li
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Tony Li,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom

Is it just me, or are all of the links pointing to their staging area?

Tony
Scott Raynovich
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Scott Raynovich,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
no, it's not you... we screwed up.

we are fixing, but in the meantime the links on the left-hand side of the page in the black bar will get you where you need to go
indica1019
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indica1019,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:41 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
It's shameful that Lightreading contributes to the sexism in the telecom industry by not including a single woman on the Top Ten list.

While Fortune has put Pat Russo on it's 10 Most Powerful Women in Business again this year, she apparently doesn't make LR's cut. Lucent might not be at the top of it's game, but it's a hell of lot better off after Pat's tough decisions that none of her predecessors had the balls to make.

LR editors - when are you going to wake up from your cozy British boy's club and realize that the rest of the world has moved on? Get with it, mates.
dodo
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dodo,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:40 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
you may disagree but Pat's tough decisions were made(are being taken) to ensure that she together with her ilks can continue to fill their pockets whilst a lot of talent may be queuing in the food line once their severance and unemployment run out.

What innovative or groung-breaking decisions has she taken so far to sustain the business ?
Zilch !

Hence she has no place in the top ten JMHO
DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:39 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom
re: "Hey Phil -- aren't you from Texas?"

Yep.

re: "What's this 'cozy Brit boys club' that indica's talking about?"

Dunno. Maybe someone's been reading Orwell's "Burmese Days" and they think I'm Ellis.
sevenbrooks
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sevenbrooks,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:14:39 PM
re: Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom

I would have nominated Pat Russo for perhaps the worst CEO in telecom. She needs to cut horrible businesses and move along. Yet, she refuses to do so at the peril of Lucent. Its still a dog, its shrinking and no obvious path to growth.

Get rid of the dead wood.

Jim
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