Dapper Embrane Exec Defends New CEO

Bill Burns oversaw four years of revenue growth at his former employer before sales headed south, and that's a good enough track record for Embrane.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

April 4, 2014

2 Min Read
Dapper Embrane Exec Defends New CEO

LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- Newly appointed Embrane CEO Bill Burns was pushed out as head honcho of the last company he ran, test equipment vendor Spirent, after a year and a half of declining revenues. (See Spirent Dumps Its CEO.)

So why does Embrane Inc. think he was a catch as its new CEO? Because of his initial track record at Spirent.

Embrane, which provides application management for traditional and software-defined networks, named Burns as CEO to replace co-founder Dante Malagrinò, who continues as chief product officer. Embrane was doing the Startup Founder Shuffle, bringing in Burns to provide professional management for the next stage of growth. (See Embrane Taps Ex-Spirent Boss Bill Burns as CEO.)

I caught up with Embrane VP Marketing John Vincenzo at their booth here at Interop, and we talked about Burns once I got over the retina-burn from Embrane employees' brightly colored boothwear.

Figure 1: Embrane VP Marketing John Vincenzo The shoes make the outfit. The shoes make the outfit.

I noted that Burns was pushed out of Spirent last year after revenue declined in 2012 and 2013. But Vincenzo defended Burns. "Look at the entire time he was as the company," Vincenzo said. For Burns's first four years at Spirent, he increased revenue, profitability, and market share.

Spirent went from $427 million revenue in 2009, Burns's first full year as CEO, to $528 million in 2011, his last good year.

"It's a day-to-day battle to grow new business at a startup," Vincenzo said, adding that Burns has the leadership experience to get the job done.

I haven't talked to Burns yet -- he's no doubt doing the new employee thing at Embrane, meeting with colleagues, filling out HR e-paperwork, and getting lost between the coffee machine and his desk. But I hope to talk with him soon, and find out more about Embrane's technology and plans under the new leadership, as soon as I stop seeing afterimages from Vincenzo's clothing.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected].

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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