Headcount: Family Time

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: FON) cut another 135 jobs from its business division on Thursday. The cuts, first reported in the Kansas City Star, add to the more than 20,000 jobs that carrier has eliminated since the telecom downturn began.

Some dismiss layoffs like this as testaments to carrier efficiency, the theory being that as carrier networks converge and more functions become automated, fewer folk are needed to push buttons, pinch bottoms, lob one-liners, and organize office betting pools.

Headcount has a different theory, even if nothing more than a ploy to cover for a poorly researched column intro: Carriers want people to spend more time with their families.

As proven by the stack of press releases on Headcount's desk, there's usually a nod toward the kinfolk when someone gets sacked, made redundant, or otherwise kicked to the curb.

While we wait for the country's divorce rate to fall, its SAT scores to rise, its column intros to improve (ahem!), and loads of other benefits to occur as a result of our industry's family focus, let's review some of the other hirings and firings of the past few days:

  • Steve Bauer, VP of marketing at Catena Networks, shuffled out the door just as the company was signing over its soul to Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN). He hasn't yet lined up another gig, but he says he's in no hurry to decide.

    "I'm giving you a direct order get away from the plane before it explodes," Bauer was told on the eve of his departure. Oh, wait. That quote was from a tail gunner's survival story from World War II. Our apologies. Mr. Bauer's quote surely would have been more flattering, had we bothered to write it down.

  • Ken Koenig, former CEO, president and chairman of Vivace Networks has flown the coop at Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), as has Mike Kazban, Vivace's former VP of marketing, business development, and service. Tellabs says the two gents left to pursue other opportunities. Until we hear from them, we'll float the totally made up rumor that the duo is opening a diner, Mike and Ken's Vivace Grill. Please use the boards below to suggest menu items.
  • Several unsolicited emails have trickled in from different sources (not Moises Alou) speculating on the demise of SiberCore Technologies. Some say the company had a layoff. Some say it's about to close. Headcount, believing none of this, tried to reach the company Friday, but was unsuccessful. We'll keep you posted.
  • Similar rumors were floating about Polaris Networks, but the company's CEO writes that the company has "received additional funding and an important customer field trial agreement" in the past few months. But there was a catch. "Coincident with these developments, we have moved some of our development work to China, resulting in domestic headcount reductions, which was a difficult decision," he writes in an email to Light Reading. "We have maintained the resources needed to support our customers and ongoing development, we have also increased our sales force, we have numerous customer engagements and the team is committed to making the product and the company successful," he continued, apparently choosing to flaunt the run-on sentence as proof of prosperity.

    Here are some of the other appointments and disappointments from the past several days:

    That's all for this week. Keep those news tips coming to: [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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