Opnext Plays Down CEO Exit
Or, rather, everything is as OK as it was a couple weeks ago. Opnext remains unprofitable and lags its compatriots in the optical components space. So, the natural conclusion was that CEO Gilles Bouchard was pushed out, especially considering he left abruptly and with no clear succession plan. (See Opnext CEO Opts Out.)
Harry Bosco, Bouchard's predecessor, insists Bouchard left for personal reasons, and that the company doesn't deem it appropriate to elaborate. Opnext will wait until January to start its search for a permanent CEO, he says.
"What I've tried to convince investors is that this is the same company I left," Bosco tells Light Reading. An abrupt CEO change "gets people nervous. So, my job is to get out there and comfort them down. It's more like 'show me,' because we're way undervalued compared to our competitors."
Opnext's share price closed Monday at US$1.73, giving the company a market value of $155.5 million.
Opnext's rebalancing plan hinges on 100 Gbit/s and, like a lot of competitors, it's trying to keep control of crucial components, particularly the complex chips required for 100Gbit/s coherent detection. (See Opnext Makes Its 100G Move.)
Opnext considers this a key factor in trying to make 100Gbit/s prices palatable enough to generate demand. "One thing we're going to do is develop those cost objectives, because we don't want to develop the market and lose it. It's a big objective for us," Bosco says.
Some of the necessary expertise comes from the team acquired with Stratalight. (See Opnext Completes StrataLight Buy.)
Bosco acknowledges that some of those engineers have left Opnext, but he considers that to be normal attrition: The optical components market has perked up this year, and that's resulted in some of the talent being head-hunted by rivals.
"As the market turns on, they're going to be recruited. It's just one of these things. We still have the core of the optical engineers."
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading