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Optical/IP

No Naperville for Kennedy

Ed Kennedy, president of North America for Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), has resigned and withdrawn his name from Tellabs' CEO search.

The reason given? He doesn't want to move to Naperville, Ill. Can you believe it? [Ed. note: Can you blame him?]

The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise, as Kennedy was considered a favorite for the Tellabs CEO job -- and of course he's also one of Light Reading's Top Ten Movers and Shakers in Telecom (um, we might have to reconsider that now). Kennedy came to Tellabs two years ago through its acquisition of Ocular Networks, where he was founder and CEO. At Tellabs he was working on integrating the Ocular products and positioning the company's next-generation data networking and metro products (see Lehman Likes Tellabs/Vivace, Tellabs Regroups, Promotes Kennedy, and Tellabs Sees Ocular Upside).

"We are slightly disappointed by this development as Ed was one of the top candidates for the CEO role," writes Steve Levy, an analyst with Lehman Brothers, in a research note issued this morning. "Additionally Ed has brought many fresh ideas to Tellabs since joining in 2001 through the Ocular acquisition."

Both Kennedy and the company cited geographical issues for the resignation. Kennedy and his family are based in the Washington, D.C., area, which is where Ocular was based, and Tellabs headquarters are in Naperville, which is about 20 miles outside of Chicago. He had been commuting in the two years since the Tellabs acquisition.

"After long and careful consideration, it's best for my family that we remain in the Washington, D.C., area," Kennedy said in a prepared statement.

At least one person familiar with Kennedy said the reason for his departure made sense.

"There's really not much there [in Naperville] except for Tellabs," says Doug Green, principal of the Bradam Group who worked for Kennedy as vice president of marketing at Ocular. "I'm sure it came down to him not wanting to move his family."

Michael Birck, Tellabs' chairman and CEO, will assume Kennedy's role in the meantime, while the company continues its CEO search (see Tellabs CEO to Retire... Again). Birck tells Light Reading that the field has been narrowed to six candidates and will likely be concluded in the next few months.

"We have some excellent candidates, and Ed was one of them," says Birck. "I think he just was concerned about moving his young family, and then working a lot. He looks a lot more relaxed now [that the decision has been made]."

It's also possible that the timing of Kennedy's decision was tied to contract talks. Green noted that this week is the two-year anniversary of Tellabs' acquisition of Ocular, and it's possible that he was working under a contract that was expiring anyway.

Kennedy was not available for comment beyond what Tellabs published in its press statement. — R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading

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MrLight 12/5/2012 | 2:37:39 AM
re: No Naperville for Kennedy "GǪdoesn't want to move to Naperville, Ill." is a pretty politically incorrect statement to make to the press for turning down a potential chance at a CEO job.

What was he thinking when he said that? Clearly, he wasn't thinking about his soon to be ex-colleagues at Tellabs in good old Naperville.

In answer to the editorial insert Gǣ [Ed. note: Can you blame him?] Gǣ. If your heart is into leading a company you do what you need to do to make it work, including moving to wherever you need to be. I guess his heart was elsewhere.

MrLightGǪwho loves Chicago
C-teknik 12/5/2012 | 2:33:13 AM
re: No Naperville for Kennedy Mr. Saunders,

I can't believe that the staff at LR has taken it upon themselves to write negative remarks against a community such as Naperville, and therefore its 130,000 inhabitants. Where do you get off?

Yes, I understand that a lot of what's written in these Message Boards is meant "just to entertain"; and doesn't have to be supported by research or facts. So, if it were just your audience poking fun at my hometown I'd blow it off.

But you and your staff should be held to a higher standard, since you claim to be "members of the press".

In my 44yrs of living on this planet I have lived and been to many places. I'm not claiming that Naperville is the greatest place on earth, but it provides a very enjoyable environment for my young family.

1] The public schools here are excellent, and have won high praise from the US Education Board.
2] The library system has been rated one of the best in the nation the past five years for a community over 100,000.
3] Every Thursday evening over the Summer the Community Band provides free concerts where many families gather with picnic blankets and enjoy the sounds and get to know one another.
4] Our downtown area is very vibrant; offering fine dining, shops, or just a pleasant stroll along the Riverwalk.
5] And with Chicago less than a hour away we have access to Lake Michigan, the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, Major League Sports, great Jazz, etc...

STICK TO WRITING ABOUT THE TELECOM INDUSRTY AND STOP TALKING DOWN PLACES WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS AND AUDIENCE LIVES. THE FACT IS THAT "MONEY MAGAZINE" RECENTLY RATED NAPERVILLE THE BEST CITY OF IT'S SIZE IN THE ""MID-WEST"" (NOT JUST ILLINOIS AS YOU WRITE). THEY PUBLISHED THEIR RATING AFTER MUCH RESEARCH, SOMETHING YOUR TEAM DIDN'T BOTHER WITH.
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