Singh resigns from Ciena Corp.

Former president, CEO of Lightera received 1.6 million shares

July 10, 1999|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

The former head of a start-up company acquired by Ciena Corp. this year has resigned from the Linthicum-based maker of telecommunications equipment and its board of directors.

Jagdeep Singh quit as president of Ciena's core switching division, a position he assumed after Ciena bought Lightera Networks Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., in a deal valued at $463.5 million in March. Singh had been Lightera's president and chief executive.

Ciena converted the company to its core switching division, which remains in California.

Departed Thursday

Singh left Ciena Thursday to pursue other interests, the company said.

Yesterday, Ciena named Steve W. Chaddick, a founding member of Ciena's management team and its senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, acting president of the division. He will work in Cupertino three weeks a month.

The company said it will conduct a search for a permanent replacement.

Chaddick joined Ciena in 1994 as vice president of product development. He was senior vice president of products and technologies from September 1996 through September last year, when he became senior vice president for strategy and corporate development.

"Jagdeep was important in setting the early direction for Lightera, and while we're disappointed with his decision to leave at this time, we remain grateful for his contributions and for the stellar team he assembled," Ciena President and Chief Executive Patrick Nettles said in a statement yesterday.

Gina H. Sockolow, an analyst with Brean Murray & Co. Inc. in New York, said Singh's resignation is not surprising.

Singh is "an entrepreneur. He doesn't want to be a manager," she said. "I personally think he is brilliant. It would be lovely for him to stay and develop new software in new areas, but this isn't his thing.

"He's a great start-up guy, and Ciena is no longer a start-up," Sockolow said.

As part of the Lightera acquisition, Singh received 1.6 million shares of Ciena stock. At yesterday's closing price of $34.0625, down 87.5 cents, those shares were worth $54.5 million.

Singh will not be permitted to cash in the shares until his affiliate status expires during this quarter, said Denny Bilter, a Ciena spokesman.

Chaddick is the ideal candidate for acting president because of his success at Ciena with new products, Bilter said.

"He was really instrumental in the success of Ciena's original product development, and he knows how to bring products to market," Bilter said. "He played an integral part in the Lightera acquisition. He's familiar with the technology and the people."

Acquisition

Ciena acquired Lightera for its MultiWave CoreDirector, a fiber-optic traffic manager that can deal with huge networks. Customers are interested, Bilter said, and the product should be available in the first quarter of next year.

"This product, if we execute it well, will change the industry," Chaddick said from California. "It's something Ciena has done before" with its DWDM equipment, which allows fiber-optic networks to carry more communications traffic.

"If we do it again, it'll be phenomenal."

Pub Date: 7/10/99

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