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Ixia Chief Fails Veracity Test

Ray Le Maistre
10/25/2013
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This is going to be one of the strangest things you'll read about this year: Test vendor Ixia has shown CEO Vic Alston to the exit door after finding out he had lied about his academic qualifications, his employment history, and his age.

The company announced that Alston resigned "following a determination by the Ixia audit committee that although he had attended Stanford University, he had misstated his academic credentials, incorrectly claiming to have received a B.S. and a M.S. in Computer Science, and had misstated his age and early employment history." (See Ixia's CEO Quits.)

Alston had been at Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) for nine years and took over as CEO in May 2012. (See Ixia to Change CEOs.)

Fortunately for Ixia, Errol Ginsberg, the company's chairman, founder and former CEO, has stepped in as acting CEO, while retaining his current role as chief innovation officer. To help him run the company, Ginsberg has appointed senior VP of strategy, Alex Pepe, as chief operating officer.

Pepe is a relative newcomer to the company, having come on board in June 2012 when Ixia acquired Anue Systems, where he was CEO. (See SPIT Bits: Now It's Ixia's Turn... and Ixia Completes $145M Anue Systems Buy.)

That Ginsberg is still around to step in will come as a relief to staff, customers, partners, and investors, who will also be placated by the news that Ixia's third-quarter revenues are set to come in on target, at around $115 million.

Jefferies & Company Inc. VP of Communications Infrastructure Equity Research, James Kisner, doesn't think the news should scare off customers. "We would be very surprised if a significant number of customers would feel compelled to migrate away from Ixia's products due to the circumstances of Alston's departure," he stated in a research note issued early Friday. "We believe the biggest risks are to company morale, particularly in light of the very tough year Ixia had been having prior to this event." (See Ixia Issues Q2 Sales Warning.)

But there is clearly some nervousness among shareholders, as Ixia's stock dipped 1.8 percent in pre-market trading early Friday to $15.43.

Ginsberg will now start looking for a permanent replacement for Alston. Any prospective applicants would be wise to double-check their resumes before submission…

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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MarkC73
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MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/26/2013 | 10:43:50 PM
Re: Wow
Did you just disagree about thinking alike, (kidding!).

I do agree that if they wanted to keep them they would have taken a different path.  I wonder if this will be the new tactic to get execs out of the top floors of the company, ... MR CEO, it seems you weren't actually the captain of the debate team in highschool, you were just a member... I'm sorry we'll need you out by the end of the day.
brookseven
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brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/26/2013 | 12:46:44 PM
Re: Wow
 

No Carol I am not worried that we think alike.  We just disagree on many issues.  And it seems unlikely that a check started in 5/2012 would take over 12 months.  This sort of background check should take less than a week.

 

seven

 
^ip4g^
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^ip4g^,
User Rank: Lightning
10/26/2013 | 4:14:03 AM
Re: Wow
Or it could simply be that they did a credentials check when he was made the CEO in May 2012. Probably that has triggered. ... All said and done it looks like Ixia did the right thing on taking this direction
Carol Wilson
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Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
10/25/2013 | 2:43:05 PM
Re: Wow
Seven, you and I are thinking along the same lines -- I realize that probably alarms you. This whole thing seems very weird.
brookseven
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brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/25/2013 | 1:35:22 PM
Re: Wow
 

So here is a question....

Why on earth would someone be looking at a 9 year old resume?

Ever known any HR folks to dig through files like that to go back and examine employee records?  I never have unless there was a question about the employee or I was taking over a group and wanted information about the people.

Even then, the age thing must have been what tipped things off right?  Potentially either health care or life insurance or key employee insurance came back with a different number than was expected?

Maybe at that point somebody called an "Ethics Line" or the equivalent reported the information and an investigation started?

seven

 
Carol Wilson
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Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
10/25/2013 | 11:03:48 AM
Re: Wow
This seems to me to be a case of Alston giving them a good excuse to let him go without discussing the company's performance or his leadership. 

If, in fact, Ixia did just realize what he lied about on a resume he submitted nine years ago, kudos to them for taking the short-term black eye and doing the right thing. 

I just think if Ixia were sailing along, and everyone was thrilled with his performanc, no one would really care anymore about Alston's age or academic record. 
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
10/25/2013 | 10:58:08 AM
Wow
Just wow! Nine years to do a little fact checking...
TaraSeals
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TaraSeals,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/25/2013 | 10:52:29 AM
Re: He said he had a BS in Computer Science, but....
Love the headline, Ray. And that's incredible! It also mystifies me that it took them nine years to do due diligence on their CEO. If I were an investor, that little operational oversight would make me wonder what else lies beneath the icy Ixia waters, waiting to sink the ship.

And...he lied about his age? Really? 
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
10/25/2013 | 9:50:16 AM
Details, details
Seems like a public company should have an air-tight case before naming someone CEO--and that includes little details like making sure he hasn't lied about his credentials.
Ray@LR
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[email protected],
User Rank: Blogger
10/25/2013 | 9:45:23 AM
He said he had a BS in Computer Science, but....
He said he had a BS in Computer Science, but.... it turns out he had a BS in BS!!!

 

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