Dalias is leaving his post as WaveSmith's CTO, a job he took after being replaced as CEO by Thomas M. Burkardt in November (see WaveSmith Gets New CEO). Dalias remains on the board but has given up any position on the executive team (more on that later).
Today's announcement puts in place a team chosen by Burkardt, whose appointment was trumpeted by WaveSmith as part of a campaign to bring the company to the next level in its evolution. That level involves selling to carriers, specifically, RBOCs -- a challenge that sources say calls for people with certain kinds of contacts and expertise.
"RBOCs don't just buy the greatest new product," says Michael Howard, principal analyst and cofounder of Infonetics Research Inc. Carriers generally like to work with folk they know, he says, ones familiar with RBOC requirements and procedures.
Burkardt himself says carriers have more stringent requirements for equipment, longer sales cycles, and often present surprises in the process of buying equipment -- all challenges that call for specific skill sets and expertise.
WaveSmith's new execs seem to fit the bill, but they have another key attribute: They've worked with Burkardt before and he knows them, too. Here's a rundown:
At least one analyst says the changes shouldn't surprise anyone. "It is no surprise that Tom Burkardt has selected a team of old chums to help him take WaveSmith to the next level. CEOs always surround themselves with people that have contributed to their past success," writes Mark Bieberich, senior analyst at the Yankee Group in an email today. All the hires, he notes, have solid RBOC experience.
While the reorg may turn out best all around, it represents yet another substantial change of management in a company that's still relatively young and has just about 100 employees. After all, WaveSmith only announced the hiring of Fitzgerald, along with Amato, last January (see WaveSmith Adds Execs). Director of marketing Chad Dunn left in September 2002. Is WaveSmith replacing its front door with a revolving model?
Both Burkardt and Dalias say no, definitely not. "I have to build a company with the best chance of success," Burkardt says. "The [founders] did a very, very, very good job... but we have to shift gears and change mindsets."
Dalias seems to agree. "This is the normal course of events. The company has to grow and change." He says WaveSmith's investors and partners have wanted him to be happy with the changes, and he is. Those partners include representatives of Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), with which WaveSmith has a sales arrangement that many view as key to the company's future (see WaveSmith Gets $30M, Signs With Ciena).
Not all the execs are leaving, either. Pam Nelson remains VP of corporate marketing, although she'll be working for Burnham. Bob Doucette remains as VP of manufacturing; and Frank Fiorillo is still VP of customer support.
Despite Dalias's departure, two other founders remain on board, although they've been taken off the Website's main management listing. These include Gary Styskal, director of hardware, and Jim Philippou, director of software. Two other founders -- Abe Schryer, the first VP of sales, and Andrea Carr-Evans, the first manufacturing VP -- left over a year ago.
For his part, Dalias says he'll be back on the telecom scene sometime this year. "Sometime in the first half of this year, you'll see me turn up in a new endeavor for sure."
— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading