Headcount: I Want You!

It was on this day in 1876 when inventor Alexander Graham Bell completed the first telephone call by telling his assistant, "Mr. Watson, come here; I want you."

Bell later received a bill for $0.17 from SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC). Life's just not fair, is it?

But let's not dwell on history, here. For, once again, it's time to review some of the past week's most interesting hirings, firings, and other industry employment news:

  • Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) has reorganized (again), and Ed Kennedy, once the CEO of Ocular Networks, has been promoted to president of Tellabs Operations Inc., a move that puts him in charge of all of Tellabs activities in North America. With this job change, about 65 percent of Tellabs employees will now report to Kennedy.

    Elsewhere in the company, Tellabs has changed from being a company of several product business units to a company that's more organized around geography, with overlapping products in each location. No job cuts were made during this reorg, but several titles changed along the way (see Tellabs Names Kennedy President).

    Tellabs' goal is to maximize its engineering resources and to respond more quickly to customer requests for new products and features, Kennedy tells Headcount from high atop the Tellabs corporate ladder. "I think you're going to see a lot more aggressive demeanor from Tellabs in the near future," he says. ("De meaner, de better," we always say.)

  • Tropic Networks Inc. cut about 36 percent of its staff -- 40 employees -- last week, bringing its head count down to 70. The cuts stem from the company's decision to steer away from metro Ethernet and focus exclusively on the metro DWDM market. Whew! Thank goodness there aren't that many vendors doing metro DWDM these days!

  • Quarry Technologies Inc. says it hasn't abandoned the U.S. market, but it has cut its VP of sales, Dick Berger, and three other sales staff focused on the U.S. Avi Legmann, VP of business development is now in charge of all sales.

    "We aren’t seeing much activity here that we are qualified for. But we are seeing activity in Asia and Europe. So we decided to consolidate the sales force," says Tim Hale director of product marketing.

    Quarry had a major layoff in July 2002, but the company refuses to say how many people it employs.

  • Red Herring folded like a cheap tent last week and cut its remaining 30 or so employees. Yes, it's true that a couple of Light Reading editors used to work at the good 'ole Herring back in the day. It was fun to watch the company evolve from Marin County Zen retreats to media dinners at Aquavit. The former editors also fondly recall the time when they were sternly lectured that leaving the gaseous glossy for the more functional Light Reading was a "huge mistake." Whatever, dude!

    Red Herring had been around for more than nine years, but, in the late 90s, it aspired to be a media empire and hitched its wagon to the dotcom gravy train, which careened off a cliff soon thereafter. Red Herring's board reportedly once turned down an offer in the hundreds of millions for the Herring and its properties. (Thanks, Guys!). Tony Perkins, one of the founders, now runs AlwaysOn Network, a Website for wealthy technologists, "visionaries," and others who like to hear themselves talk. Memorable and catchy URL, too, eh? We wish you well at www.always-on-net.com/work.net -- or whatever it was...

  • Chorum Technologies Inc., the mighty components vendor that once employed more than 800 people, has cut its staff to below 100 and is shedding its fiber optic components division to focus on making parts for liquid crystal displays. The company was founded in 1996 and has raised more than $212.9 million. "We kept looking at the fiber optics business and we just are not seeing an improvement," says Kent Coker, Chorum's CEO.

  • Throwaway line of the week: "I used to be in optics! Now I'm eating again." -- Tony Tissot, Redline Networks.

  • After last week's column, readers have mailed in many more euphemisms for layoffs. Our favorite comes from someone who used to work in the aerospace industry: "Some individuals were impacted by job discontinuance and assigned to the mobility pool for decruitment."

  • A recent report by Communications Industry Researchers Inc. (CIR) rips Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) CEO Gary Smith for taking a $3 million bonus while allegedly planning to do a significant amount of pruning from Ciena's ranks. "While CIR does not fault Mr. Smith for wanting what is rightfully his, we do find it peculiar that he would do so at a time when raises are not forthcoming to the rest of the organization. With CIR’s knowledge that up to 750 additional lay-offs will probably occur this month, the employees should question the wisdom of this payment."

    Here's a summary of other industry appointments (and disappointments) from the past several days:

  • Exavio Stores $7M for Cable Idea
  • Savage Takes Helm at Hatteras
  • Ignis Optics Hires Marketing VP
  • Narad Trials in Japan, Shuffles Execs
  • Tyco Revamps Board
  • Highwave Names Sales VP
  • Corning's Ex-CEO Bags Over $10M
  • OMM: The End Is Near
  • Fast-Chip Flees the Market If we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading
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    General Custer 12/5/2012 | 2:32:02 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! There's a new face on the Xanoptix executive profiles page. Looks like the VP of Operations Paul Heller was finally replaced a year later with a director of operations Alan Jean. From his profile it doesn't look like this sudden apparition of an operations manager is tied to the Aralight news.
    zool 12/5/2012 | 2:25:30 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! How about a great big welcome for Dr. Alain Jean to the Bundy Family of Fibre Optics as MultiMode so aptly put it. We're sure Alain is quite happy to be sharing the same address as Brittany these days. What's one more person to appear on the Jerry Springer show titled, GÇÿWe pissed away all the VC's money and we don't care!GÇÖ Check your listings for local air times.
    General Custer 12/5/2012 | 2:24:46 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! Er.... does "sharing the same address with Brittany" refer to the work or home address? Ha Ha! That would be quite a different episode of Jerry Springer for the Xanoptix crew, something more like "Executive Roomies".

    The General
    zool 12/5/2012 | 2:10:55 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! That's 4 years 0 products. Way to go Xano! Make those VC's proud.

    opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 2:10:54 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! It isn't the 85/85 rule that keeps people from using parallel optics (Agilent and others have solved this problem). It is cost. For short runs electrical solutions are MUCH cheaper.

    When telecom growth was at its peak and Grubman was telling us all about exponential growth of the internet, solutions like Xanoptics looked promising and useful. Now it looks way ahead of its time, like lots of companies that have now folded. But who knows, maybe there is someone out there that needs there solution.
    fiberlight 12/5/2012 | 2:10:18 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! Zool, Tera:

    You are missing the point completely. Xano realizes that parallel optics is WAY ahead of its time. Xano only used the transceiver as a way to prove out their technology ... chip stacking. They intend to broaden their market base beyond FO buy selling an integration service. Why do you think they are looking for a VP of Biz Dev? It's not to try to drum up more transceiver business.

    If tera's comment is true and Xano can produce a qualifiable product, then the VC's aren't as dumb as they appear.

    Think about it!
    Multi-mode 12/5/2012 | 2:03:49 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! Jim Norrad Ex-CEO of Xanoptix has quit the Xanoptix board of directors. With any dreams of Norrad and Trezza's scheme to get rich quick from Xanoptix extinguished, it looks like Norrad has decided to cut his losses.

    With Norrad gone, can Trezza be far behind?
    fiberlight 12/5/2012 | 2:03:37 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! Jim Norrad promised a bounty of riches to all of his staff while CEO of Xanoptix. He was blinded by Trezza, who is a dreamer not a visionary.

    The word on the street is that they are now running out of money and trying to raise another round of funding like everybdoy else. Does Norrad's resignation indicate that this new funding is at risk and that the wheels are finally coming off? Xanoptix was supposed to deliver the next generation of semiconductor technology and they still can't make more than prototypes of anything.

    How long can the investors be patient when Xanoptix just can't find the magic bullet for success? Look at what happened to TeraConnect!!

    Looks like Multi-mode and Zool maybe right after all.
    zool 12/5/2012 | 2:02:34 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! With Xanoptix poor track record any funding at this point would mean massive dilutiion for existing shareholders. After 4 years Xanoptix still can't build products that will stand up to real world testing. They have never been able to execute and time is running out. New CEO Rob Baxter and operations guru Alain Jean have been unable to turn things around. So much for high priced hired guns. Trezza himself is rumored to have started looking for a new gig. Isn't Home Depot hiring?

    Belzebutt 12/5/2012 | 12:28:48 AM
    re: Headcount: I Want You! http://www.redherring.com/colu...

    "Ironically, I has just emailed in my editorial (see my column) for what was going to be the 10th anniversary issue of the magazine..."

    Could this be an indication as to why the Herring has folded?
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