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Headcount: Lights, Camera, Action!Headcount: Lights, Camera, Action!

Marty gets snubbed, LuxN backpedals, ex-Digilens workers get stiffed, Narad cuts, Novalux goes bankrupt

March 25, 2003

4 Min Read
Headcount: Lights, Camera, Action!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrated its 75th awards ceremony Sunday night. Due to the war and concerns over security, Joan Rivers was eliminated (thank you), but the show went on without a hitch, and for the first time in this writer’s memory it came down in under four hours.

Highlights included Martin Scorsese getting passed over for the best director award -- again. But the Academy didn’t let an unresolved statutory rape charge get in the way of awarding the prize to Roman Polanski for his direction of The Pianist. A good flick, but the folks in NYC were pulling for our boy, Marty...

But who cares about all these glamorous and overpaid movie stars anyway? Let’s get to the real news: Who has been hired and fired recently in telecom? Now that’s interesting.

  • Like the string of interminable Rocky movies, the LuxN Inc. saga continues. Last week, the company told Headcount that former sales VP Jim Kennedy was working as a consultant until the company could find a replacement. Kennedy had been listed on the company Website until last week.

    In an interview after the story appeared, Kennedy said his continuing employment with LuxN was news to him.

    “If I’m a consultant, then all I am missing is a paycheck,” he said. “I haven’t had any business contact with them since I left in December.”

    LuxN has tried to clarify its position and is calling the whole thing a misunderstanding.

    “I apologize for what I said last week,” says Paul Zalloua, vice president of marketing for LuxN. “I did not mean to imply that Jim Kennedy was still working as a consultant for us. I take full responsibility for that. I think you misunderstood me.”

    The bio for Trisha Mount, former VP of finance and CFO, was still on the company Website as of Monday morning. Mount left the company back in September 2002. Just another oversight?

    “That was a stupid mistake,” admits Zalloua. “I take responsibility for that.”

    Kennedy says that to the best of his knowledge, there are no direct sales people left at the company. David Wetzel, who was working the SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) account, left in mid-February. Others left before the end of last year. Kennedy says the company only has technical field support representatives and no real sales team.

    Zalloua takes issue with this claim.

    “I don’t know why ex-colleagues have to trash their former company,” he says. “They should be focusing on their new jobs."

  • Two weeks ago, component maker DigiLens Inc. laid off most of its dozen or so remaining employees. The board of directors is keeping the company on cryogenic support as it tries to secure financing, says CEO Jonathan Waldern, who was among those let go.

    "They want to provide as much time as possible to secure the new round of financing." Failing that, Waldern says, the directors might consider selling DigiLens's intellectual property.

    Meanwhile, 11 ex-employees are telling the California Labor Commission that DigiLens never paid up on promised wages. They claim they signed contracts promising them "bonuses," then got laid off without receiving a cent. They're hoping to take the case through arbitration rather than go to court.

  • Narad Networks Inc., a provider of business broadband solutions, cut about 40 percent of its staff last week. The 50-person company, which also had cuts last fall, is preparing to close a series C round of funding. The company has raised a total of $80 million to date. The last round closed in November 2002 and was worth $16.5 million.

    “This latest round of layoffs is unfortunate,” says Beth Mayer, a spokesperson for the company. “But Narad, like many in this market, is transitioning from a technology creator to focusing more on customer deployments and field trials.”

    The company has recently announced a deal with StarCat Cable Network in Japan (see Narad Trials in Japan, Shuffles Execs).

  • Novalux Inc., a maker of 980-nanometer pump lasers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection two weeks ago. The company was unable to be reached for comment, but a former employee says the company has abandoned the telecom pump laser market and is focusing on developing products for the medical market. The employee says that engineers have doubled the laser frequency to address this market. The Novalux lasers are much more compact and more powerful than most lasers used in medical procedures today.

    Here's a summary of other employment news from the past several days:

    • Dell Guy Named Sheer Chairman

    • Tellabs Names Two to Board

    • Pentagon Pal Perle Gets GX Paycheck

    • IPass Gets Global Sales VP

    • Charter Names SVP of Engineering

    • Fortinet VP Supports Customers

    • Riverstone Appoints Sales VP

    • Sprint Gets a 'Restricted' CEO

    • Sprint Names Forsee CEO

    • Judge: Forsee Can Join Sprint

    If we missed anything, we take full responsibility for that... But send a note to [email protected].

    — Marguerite Reardon and Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editors, Light Reading

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