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Ethernet equipment

Soapstone Shocker: Founder Flees

Larry Dennison, the man who engineered the transformation of Avici Systems into Soapstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SOAP), has quietly left the company.

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

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:29:49 PM
re: Soapstone Shocker: Founder Flees wow
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:29:49 PM
re: Soapstone Shocker: Founder Flees
Dear Mr. Harvey,

Please shorten your highly wordy posts.

Signed,

Light Reading Readers

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:29:48 PM
re: Soapstone Shocker: Founder Flees ok
stomper 12/5/2012 | 3:29:45 PM
re: Soapstone Shocker: Founder Flees I worked for him for over 9 years and learned a lot. I have never met anyone so adept at everything, from analog circuit design to high level software architecture. He will be sorely missed.

But this shouldn't be surprising. He got this venture off the ground and is probably moving on to something else. The only thing that surprised me was that he hung around this long.
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