JDS Uniphase CEO Steps Down - InformationWeek

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JDS Uniphase CEO Steps Down

Jozef Straus will be succeeded as chief executive of the optical networking equipment maker by current board member Kevin Kennedy, effective Sept. 1.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Troubled optical networking equipment maker JDS Uniphase Corp. announced Thursday that its chief executive is retiring after more than 20 years at the company.

Jozef Straus will be succeeded by current board member Kevin Kennedy, effective Sept. 1.

The company also announced the resignation of president and chief operating officer Syrus Madavi, a former Texas Instruments executive who was hired last year to help lead the restructuring of the business.

In a statement, JDSU said Madavi decided "to pursue future opportunities outside JDS Uniphase following a transition period." The position will not be filled.

JDSU was hit hard by the telecommunications meltdown that started in 2001 as it was aggressively expanding to meet the demand for optical networking products during the high-tech boom. Over the past two years, it has shed thousands of jobs and closed dozens of plants.

The company also said it will consolidate its headquarters in San Jose. They were previously co-located in Ottawa and San Jose.

In 2001, the company posted what was then the largest annual loss in U.S. corporate history--more than $56 billion. Much of that was the result of goodwill writedowns related to past acquisitions.

The company's stock price, which topped $63 in January 2001, has fallen as low as $1.62 in October 2002. Shares were 21 cents higher, or more than 6 percent, to $3.40, in Thursday trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Straus, who nearly always sports a black beret, fled the Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1968. After holding various positions at Bell Northern Research and Nortel, he co-founded JDS Fitel in 1981. He was appointed CEO of JDS Uniphase in May 2000, having served as president and chief operating officer since the merger of JDS Fitel and Uniphase Corp.

Straus will continue to serve on JDSU's board and will become the "founder emeritus."

Kennedy, who joined the JDSU board in October 2001, previously served as chief operating officer of Openwave Systems Inc., a maker of mobile phone software. Kennedy also worked seven years at Cisco Systems Inc. and 17 years at Bell Labs.

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