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Headcount: Miller's Oranges

In honor of the New York run of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," which premiered this week in 1942, Headcount dares to ask: What are companies doing to reward loyal employees these days? Or is loyalty even relevant?

Will the recession convince rank-and-file employees that a steady paycheck is more than enough? Are today's companies getting away with, as Willy Loman put it, eating the orange and throwing the peel away?

Headcount reminds you that a person is not a piece of fruit, and an apple may be liked, but not well liked... and we encourage your discussion of employee/management loyalty issues on the boards below.

And while you're getting juiced, we'll review some of the past week's most interesting hirings and (groan!) prunings:

  • Long-haul equipment maker Xtera Communications Inc. confirms it has cut 45 people, or about 30 percent of its staff. "We can beat our competitors, but we can't outrun the market," says Paul Harrison, Xtera's VP of marketing, who is winding down his duties over the next several weeks.

    About a year ago, Xtera did an about-face and went from supplying subsystems to makers of long-haul DWDM transport gear to making its own gear and competing against its former (well, prospective) customers. The company's products fall in that murky category of gear that carriers get excited about, but, for various reasons, refuse to buy (see Xtera's New Plan).

  • Speaking of market changes, Celion Networks Inc., once a long-haul systems vendor selling to telecom carriers, has started selling its box to enterprises that need to move lots of data across their corporate-owned networks. The company says it has "close to 50" employees, but the change in markets has led to some staff shuffling. Celion once listed Clarel Thevenot as its VP of sales and marketing and Kevin Anthony as VP of engineering. Now M. Philip Salas holds the VP of engineering title, while Jonathan R. Dreyfus, director of business development, and Amnish Khosla, director of technology marketing, appear to have absorbed Thevenot's post (see Celion Adds to Team).

  • Closure rumors abound, but Allegro Networks Inc. says it is still alive and, well, alive, in this industry. The router startup is working on raising a third funding round. "We were thinking that we would close the round by the end of January, but it's taking longer than expected," says David Ginsburg, Allegro's VP of marketing. Allegro says it now employs 75, down from 78, as last reported in late October 2002 (see Startups Make More Cuts).

    Meanwhile, Headcount would like to give a shout out to David and his wife Marie for their birth of their daughter. "Maya Alexandra, is now generally available as of the 30th of January at 10PM PST, a full quarter ahead of schedule," Ginsburg wrote in a mock press release announcing the birth. (Sigh! Marketing guy humor. What can we say? At least he didn't make a Star Trek joke.)

  • So far, ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL) has been relatively quiet about its widely reported efforts to collapse many of its subsidiaries back into a larger, more manageable company. Thus, the fates of companies such as Enavis Networks Ltd. are left to speculation. But something is evidently in the offing. Israel's Globes newspaper is reporting that, according to unnamed sources, ECI is about to cut 150 to 200 jobs from its Inovia Telecoms Ltd. and Lightscape Networks Ltd. divisions. Headcount's calls to ECI weren't returned.

  • It's "aloha" to Jo Anne Miller, the Gluon Networks Inc. CEO who took a Hawaiian vacation after sending a memo telling employees to "do everything it takes, including postponing December vacations," to make deadlines. Gluon announced Miller's resignation last week. She was replaced by Shirish Patel (see Gluon Replaces President/CEO).

  • Several sources say that Maple Optical Systems is closed. Calls to Maple haven't been returned. The company's headcount peaked at about 150, according to previous Light Reading reports.

  • Turin Networks Inc. has cut 12 workers, or 7 percent of its staff, according to John Webley, president and CEO of Turin Networks. The company says it avoided an even bigger layoff by slashing salaries. About half of the company's 150 employees were affected by the pay cuts, including some managers. The cuts were generally less than 10 percent of the employee's current salary. "Usually it's the regular workers getting laid off," says Webley. "But we felt it was time that management felt the pain as well. [The pay cuts] were less than 10 percent, so it wasn't the end of the world."

  • Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) says it has named Philippe Morin the general manager of its optical networks group. Morin was formerly VP of product management for the same group.

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

  • JDSU Names New CFO
  • Vivace Looking at NTT, New CEO
  • Ericsson Replaces CEO
  • Optinel Names Engineering VPs
  • Bookham Nips and Tucks
  • KMI Research Founder Dies That's our report, orange rinds and all. If we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading
    www.lightreading.com
  • Page 1 / 5   >   >>
    workerBee987654321 12/5/2012 | 12:40:20 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges dave always good not telling truth. they no money, vc's no give more money. more people no work there all the time. few working, they surf www.monster.com for job. house tell them no say bad things about allegro. he know truth.... bye bye allegro.


    workerbee987654321
    rainbowarrior 12/5/2012 | 12:40:20 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges Yet another bs post on Headcount.

    This looks like some one pretending to be an insider ( "WorkerBee") and pretending to be a foreign-born engineer by using English too broken
    to be realistic.

    Come on "WorkerBee". Not even Bobbymax lays it on that thick.

    This Headcount message list is turning into a
    soapbox for people with scores to settle against particular companys.

    What is truly nauseating is the amount of deception these bitter people are willing to use.

    I don't care about Allegro one way or another, and I'm not a Dave House fan either, but I'm sick of the deceptiveness of disgruntled ex-employees and competitors taking cheap shots at companies on this message board while posing to be detached outsiders or current insiders.
    BlueWater66 12/5/2012 | 12:40:10 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges Per comments above, I'd say most start-ups are not taking employee compensation very seriously. Salaries are down, Stock Options (the traditional driver in start-ups) are buried under Liquidation Preferences, and most key employees expect to have the companies sold in the next year or two (which usually means top management layoffs).

    When this market finally turns around, I'm concerned about retaining the best employees. How do we compete against larger companies offering competative salary, "real stock options" (i.e. employee can open the newspaper and figure out their value), and much better health care benefits. There will be a rough couple of years. The VCs seem to be extremely short sighted. It will be interesting.
    BigBrother 12/5/2012 | 12:40:09 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges Working for a start-up is like working as a contractor but with less pay and same uncertainty. When you finish your piece, it is likely that you will get layoff while the company is waiting to sell the product or getting new funding. It will be interesting to see how those start-up maintain the product. I have seen real talented people got layoff because they finish the product as they should or for political reasons.
    crapshooter 12/5/2012 | 12:40:09 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges For those of us "lucky" enough to survive the seemingly endless parade of layoffs within the industry, we are left doing three times the work for a lot less money. This, in and of itself, doesn't bother me too much; I've never been scared of a little hard work. What really gets to me is that senior management isn't appreciative of the monumental tasks we grunts are expected to perform on a regular basis. I can only speak for my company, but I am sure many of you out there are in the same boat.

    Many of my peers keep telling me that I'm fortunate to be drawing a regular paycheck. That is true, but I feel like I am selling a part of my soul in the process. I work for a career-engineer that decided he could run a company, even though I don't think he left his lab long enough to see the sun in 20 years. Since things aren't going too smoothly right now (what else could a reasonable person expect in this dreadful market?), he's taken to belittling his employees every chance he gets.

    I ask you, oh faithful LR readers: how are we supposed to feel when we're asked to do the jobs of three people and work ridiculously long hours, with no appreciation, while accepting pay cuts and watching our "precious" stock options waste away to nothing? I'm trying my damndest to leave telecom altogether and I won't look back....
    lightfantastic 12/5/2012 | 12:40:08 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges "I ask you, oh faithful LR readers: how are we supposed to feel when we're asked to do the jobs of three people and work ridiculously long hours, with no appreciation, while accepting pay cuts and watching our "precious" stock options waste away to nothing? I'm trying my damndest to leave telecom altogether and I won't look back...."
    ____________________________________

    I just can't help but think this is punishment for how we lived during the bubble.

    Plus, look around - it is happening everywhere - financial services, retail, etc. I just don't know where all these people are expected to go.

    -l

    vapa 12/5/2012 | 12:40:03 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges dave always good not telling truth. they no money, vc's no give more money. more people no work there all the time. few working, they surf www.monster.com for job. house tell them no say bad things about allegro. he know truth.... bye bye allegro.

    Ah-hhahahahhahahahahahahah! *wiping tears* This is so funny.
    rbkoontz 12/5/2012 | 12:40:00 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges Headcount Gurus,

    Just heard Nokia Broadband is shutting down in Rhonert Park. 200+ staff affected. This is where the DSLAMs have been developed (through Diamond Lane acquisition in 99). These products have had zero success in US and reasonable wins in Asia (where margins likely equal zero). In addition, the division acquired Amber last yr for $400M+ and shut down unit in less than a year. So, net-net, this should come as no surprise if the Fins are done with their wireline access experiment and associated losses.
    crapshooter 12/5/2012 | 12:39:59 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges "dave always good not telling truth. they no money, vc's no give more money. more people no work there all the time. few working, they surf www.monster.com for job. house tell them no say bad things about allegro. he know truth.... bye bye allegro."
    _____________________________

    Someone please help translate this. Reading it causes brain pain. I feel like we need someone like the old woman from Airplane who served as a translator because she spoke jive.
    lightsplitter 12/5/2012 | 12:39:57 AM
    re: Headcount: Miller's Oranges Another thing I find interesting about the reduction in pay is that many companies (big,
    small and startup) are paying ~20-30% less for
    new employees, yet their existing employee base
    is still making the normal salaries. If
    and when the employment situation improves, many
    employees will jump ship since they are way
    undervalued when compared to their coworkers.

    Page 1 / 5   >   >>
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