Management Turnover as Change Agent

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is JDS Uniphase Losing CEO for Brighter Horizons or His Management Failings?

JDS Uniphase JDSU (NASDAQ), the laser and optical fiber component maker, announced during a conference call on October 29th its CEO, Kevin Kennedy, will be resigning his position.  Kennedy is leaving JDS Uniphase after five years at tKevin Kennedyhe helm of the firm to become the new CEO of Avaya, Inc. in January 2009.  Kennedy’s announced resignation comes as JDS continues to face slowing profits and a prediction by the firm that its sales for the second quarter that end in December are expected to be well below analysts forecasts.  Kennedy leaves the firm according to a story in Fierce Telecom,

… as JDSU is planning to cut 400 employee and contractor positions, as well as reduce its number of manufacturing locations from 19 to 12.

 Kennedy’s exit also comes as the company stock according to a story by Bert Hill of the Ottawa Citizen,

... plunged 61 per cent in the last year.jds_uniphase.gif

 It is difficult to determine what Kennedy succeeded in doing for JDS over the last year.  Kennedy himself was quoted saying (read Lightwave article),

“My decision to leave JDSU reflects the convergence of a unique opportunity presenting itself as well as my confidence in the JDSU leadership team that is in place to execute the initiatives now underway which should result in best in class operating metrics,” Kennedy was quoted as saying in an announcement. “I look forward to continuing to work with the team as a member of the board of directors.”  

 JDS finds itself in a difficult situation. Keep a very close eye on who the board puts in charge and who it ultimately finds to replace Kennedy.  It is hard to determine whether he is leaving a sinking ship or just jumping ship for a far better opportunity.Time will tell.

For more:

Barron’s Tech Trader (2007)



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