VoIP Systems

Sonus Terminates VP of Engineering

Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) has "terminated" the employment of Chuba Udokwu, vice president of engineering, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing this afternoon.

Reasons for the termination are unclear, and Sonus couldn't be reached for comment.

Udokwu's duties had already been reassigned to other executives as of Sept. 18, according to a separate SEC filing. Now he's out, effective today, receiving severance pay and health benefits through mid-2009. (That's 37 weeks.) Udokwu's base salary last year was $250,000, according to past SEC documents.

He joined Sonus in 2006 from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Sonus Names VP Engineering.) His past resume includes Seranoa (acquired by White Rock Networks); Alcatel and Lucent (when they were separate); and Mintera Corp. . (See Looking at M&A Aftermath .)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:29:44 PM
re: Sonus Terminates VP of Engineering Sonus does have a new CEO in Richard Nottenburg:

... so maybe that's a factor? Maybe there's just some redecorating going on?

The wording of the SEC documents suggests otherwise, though ... you don't use the phrase "terminated the employment of" lightly.
gocowboys 12/5/2012 | 3:29:44 PM
re: Sonus Terminates VP of Engineering I worked with Chuba; his company was sold to Alcatel. He is a very capable individual and has a long history of successful development. It is unfortunate that this article appears a bit negative toward him.

My understanding is that Nottenburg is reorganizing; he apparantly has a penchant for running organizations himself. I think that Sonus has a number of challenges going forward; clearly, there is some shuffling of the deck chairs.
Stevery 12/5/2012 | 3:29:43 PM
re: Sonus Terminates VP of Engineering My understanding is that Nottenburg is reorganizing...

I don't know Chuba, but judging from Nottenburg's performance at MLTC, Chuba should take this as a compliment.
optodoofus 12/5/2012 | 3:29:42 PM
re: Sonus Terminates VP of Engineering Engineering has always been Sonus' strength. Despite their poor exectuive leadership, the company survived simply becasuse they had a really good product. It just worked better than any one else' solution (Yes, Nortel, I'm looking at you when I say that.)

The problem is that engineering took a big hit when the old VP of engineering left and Chuba came in. Chuba was tasked with making sure that Sonus started delivering on schedule commitments (something the previous engineering management team was pretty bad at). Unfortunately, his first action was to gut the features in upcoming releases and simultaneously push all new releases out further in time. So, Sonus started making their commitments, but falling behind the curve on technology. Is this Chuba's fault? Not sure. He did what he was told to do. What the executive team really wanted was to keep an aggressive schedule, jam each release full of as much stuff as possible AND make the schedule commitments. (This is just another variation of the "good, fast and cheap - pick any two" problem.)

When asked to do the impossible, of course you are going to fail. Is that your fault - or the fault of the people who set your priorities? Or both? But any way you cut it, Sonus no longer has the significnat technical lead they once had, and this is not a good thing.

DarkWriting 12/5/2012 | 3:29:41 PM
re: Sonus Terminates VP of Engineering Nicely said Opto!

My version of this is the first rule of continuous employment...

Never tell the boss "no"... when asked to accomplish an impossible task, just say yes and start looking for another job.

Be out the door before the "fit hits the Shan" and you will never take the blame. Then maybe the boss will be the one to deservedly get fired.

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