Headcount: I Want You!

Changes at Tellabs, Tropic trims, Quarry looks for quarry, Herring deader than a mackerel, 'decruitment' proceeds

March 10, 2003

4 Min Read
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 MarketIf we missed anything, send a tip to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey and Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editors, Light Reading

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