Infinera CTO Departs

Drew Perkins is stepping down as chief technology officer at Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN), the company announced Wedneday afternoon. He'll remain a technical advisor to Infinera starting in January.

His job will be filled by Dave Welch, who's also Infinera's chief strategy officer.

Why this matters
Perkins helped found Lightera, which became the center of the Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) empire, followed by OnFiber Communications, which was acquired by Qwest -- and Infinera. He's not the first of the Infinera old guard to leave the company -- former CEO Jagdeep Singh left about two years ago -- but for optical networking watchers, his surprise departure is worth noting.

Infinera remains in good technological hands. The company will still have access to Perkins, and Welch was co-CTO in the company's early days.

It's going to be interesting to find out Perkins's motivations for leaving, since Infinera gave the generic "other opportunities" reason. Maybe he's just retiring -- but (idle speculation alert) what if he's got an even more dramatic startup up his sleeve?

For more
At least Perkins stuck around for the release of Infinera's 100Gbit/s product, the DTN-X:

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:45:47 PM
re: Infinera CTO Departs

I wasn't trying to say it was devastating.  If anything, it's a sign of Infinera's age.  The company's been around 11 years, right? Some of these guys want to do other things.

Perkins is well known enough that his leaving a job -- especially at a company as closely watched as Infinera -- is newsworthy.

rahat.hussain 12/5/2012 | 4:45:47 PM
re: Infinera CTO Departs

oh, come on, this is no loss.

infn will be fine without him. dave is supersmart and can take care of whatever-it-is that drew did.

drew will probably piggy-back off of jagdeep's next startup a la all the previous ones.

rhr 12/5/2012 | 4:45:43 PM
re: Infinera CTO Departs Craig, Jagdeep Singh stepped down as CEO about two years ago but did he leave the company? That is not what was said at the time.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:45:41 PM
re: Infinera CTO Departs

Yeah, he did leave. He was still on the board for a while but has stepped down from there, too. It happened about a year ago.

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