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Headcount: Laying Off Layoffs

France Telecom swings le axe, Ceterus and Valor nip & tuck, and Pedestal gets more funding

January 20, 2004

3 Min Read
Headcount: Laying Off Layoffs

There may not have been that many jobs created last month (see Headcount: Job Makers, Deal Breakers), but at least the layoffs weren't nearly as severe in the telecom biz as they have been in the past.

The outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. (CG&C), which tracks announced corporate layoffs, says telecom companies laid off 8,740 people in December 2003. That's down about 30 percent from the 12,590 that were laid off during December 2002.

Layoffs in the telecom biz only accounted for 9 percent of all announced corporate layoffs in Dec. 2003. In December 2002, telecom layoffs made up 13 percent of all layoffs, CG&C says.

Enough of that Christmasy data for now. Let's take a moment and review some of the most interesting hirings and firings of the last few days:

  • There was no joy in Naperville last week as Ed Kennedy, president of North America for Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), resigned and withdrew his name from Tellabs' CEO search (see No Naperville for Kennedy). Kennedy did so because he didn't want to move, a sentiment that reminds Headcount of one reason Global Crossing Holdings Ltd. was once headquartered in Bermuda.

  • Mike Dagenais has taken the hot seat at Optical Solutions Inc. The FTTP company announced last week that Dagenais has joined as president and CEO, following the departure of Darryl Ponder (see Optical Solutions Names President ). Dagenais had signed on as Optical Solutions' chief operating officer a month before Ponder's resignation. A year ago, Dagenais stepped up to the top spot at Convergent Networks Inc. after being the COO (see Headcount: Tossers).

  • Ceterus Networks has made a little salary cap room for its new CEO, Dave Stehlin, according to sources close to the company. The company has cut seven folks in the past week or so -- including two hardware engineers, two operations folks, and a marketing VP, the sources say. There are about 53 still at the startup, which makes transport systems for metro networks. None of those employees has been asked to move to Naperville, Ill.

  • Ron Sege finally turned up, as reported by our cherubic sister site, Unstrung. The Sege-Meister General has taken the top post at Tropos Networks, a WLAN startup (see Tropos Taps Time-Worn Talent). When Sege left his gig at Ellacoya Networks Inc. in December, he was replaced by former Crescent Networks CEO Gerald Wesel (see Headcount: Company Makeover).

  • La guillotine is working overtime at France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE). The carrier will chop 14,500 jobs, about 7 percent of its workforce, in 2004 (see France Telecom Cuts 7% of Staff). Some 8,800 staff will be cut in France, and most of the remaining cuts will come from France Telecom's Poland subsidiary.

  • Independent carrier Valor Telecom cut 27 of its more than 1,500 employees on Friday, the company says. Most of the cuts came from Valor's Irving, Texas, headquarters.

  • Pedestal Networks Inc. says it will add some players to its 57-person roster soon. Why? The DSL equipment startup just bagged a $20 million funding round from Duff Ackerman & Goodrich LLC (DAG) and its original investors: Benchmark Capital, Doll Capital Management (DCM), and Skymoon Ventures. The company has raised $34 million to date (see Pedestal Displays DSL Gear). Pedestal's valuation increased during the round, DAG partner John Cadeddu tells Headcount. "This wasn't like 'Weekend at Bernie's', where investors came back to prop up the dead," he says. Headcount wouldn't be surprised if "Weekend at Bernie's" is still playing at the Nova 8 Cinemas in Naperville, Ill.Here's a summary of other industry appointments (and disappointments) from the past several days:

    • NP Photonics Names Sales VP

    • Nettles Joins Carrius Board

    • Quintum Announces New President

    • Revivio Appoints CFO

    • LeBeau Dons Aruba Crown

    • Vivato Loses CTO, VP

    • TI Appoints Euro President

    • Sonim Hires CTO

    That's all for now. (We've propped up this column long enough.) We're always looking for some good clean dirt for the next edition of Headcount, so send your tips to [email protected].

    — Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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