Soapstone Shocker: Founder Flees
A terse Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing dated Oct. 7 notes that Dennison, Soapstone's chief technology officer and senior vice president of research and development, is "no longer employed by the company effective October 6, 2008."
There's no replacement named; Dennison's duties are being handed to other employees.
It's unclear whether Dennison, who helped found Avici in 1996, left voluntarily. He didn't immediately return a call requesting comment, nor did Soapstone officials.
Dennison's extension and voicemail at Soapstone are still connected, for whatever that's worth. At press time, his bio still appears on the Soapstone Website.
Whatever the circumstances, it's an unusual move, given Soapstone is little more than a year old.
The company started life as Avici in the core router space, a market that would eventually turn sour. With AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) as its only substantial customer, Avici gave up on the router market last year. (See Avici Abandons Routing, Targets PBT, The Core Was Rotten for Startups, and Cisco Confirms AT&T Core Win.)
Soapstone, which was originally Avici's software business unit, offers the Provider Network Controller, a virtual control plane that can be applied to multiple vendors' equipment. For its first target, Soapstone picked networks with Provider Backbone Transport (PBB, or PBB-TE) deployments. (See Avici Amped Up for Soapstone Launch, Soapstone Shores Up Ethernet, and PBT/PBB-TE Guide: Vendor Talk.)
A full rollout of Soapstone's technologies is slated for late this year. Start up the video, below, to hear Dennison tell all about it.
Soapstone now has a $49 million market capitalization, and its shares are down more than 55 percent from a year ago.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading