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McData Loses Another

Three days before announcing earnings that it has already lowered guidance on, McData Corp. (Nasdaq: MCDTA) has lost its senior vice president of marketing.

Mike Gustafson, who has been with the company since 1998 and held the marketing senior VP post since 2002, became the second high-ranking executive to leave McData in the last six months. Alain Andreoli resigned as executive VP of worldwide sales and service last November to take over as CEO at privately run storage system vendor Xiotech Corp. (see McData Sales Boss McExits and Ex-McData EVP to Head XIOtech).

McData filed an 8-K statement today reporting Gustafson left the company to pursue other opportunities.” A company spokeswoman says Gustafson did not leave for another job, and that “our go-to-market strategy will stay the same.” Jeff Vogel, another McData veteran who had been VP of solutions and services, will serve as Gustafson’s interim replacement while the company searches for someone permanent.

Industry speculation is that Gustafson left on his own rather than get pushed out. Regardless of the circumstances, his departure could come at a tough time as the SAN switch maker battles traditional rival Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD)
and SAN switch newcomer Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

Last month, CEO John Kelley said McData would miss the guidance he gave in February for the quarter that just ended (see McData Slashes Guidance – Again). McData’s revised forecast was for revenue of between $94 million and $104 million, down from its previous estimate of between $108 million and $115 million. The new earnings forecast ranges from a loss of $0.01 to a gain of $0.02 per share from previous guidance between breakeven and $0.02.

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