Cereva Exec Churn Continues

Startup replaces VP of operations as it gears up to ship product

December 6, 2001

3 Min Read
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Cereva Networks Inc. has hired a new vice president of operations, Larry Kellogg, in the latest management switcheroo at the Marlborough, Mass., storage startup.

It seems that Cereva CEO Mahesh Ganmukhi is trying to put the band back together -- assembling a group of trusted lieutenants hes worked with previously.

“Mahesh wants a team around him that he knows,” says an industry executive who requested anonymity.

A seasoned networking industry hand, Kellogg was most recently VP of manufacturing operations for Ellacoya Networks Inc., a broadband services switch startup. Kellogg knows Ganmukhi from when they both worked at Cascade Communications, which was subsequently bought by Ascend Communications before Ascend was itself sucked up by Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU).

Kellogg, who started at the company Nov. 19, replaces John Crossin, Cereva’s previous head of operations. Crossin departed “for personal reasons,” says Bruce MacDonald, Cereva’s director of corporate communications.Was Crossin forced out to make way for one of Ganmukhi’s old pals? Through a spokesman, Ganmukhi denies Crossin was asked to resign. Crossin, reached at his home in Acton, Mass., would say only, “We’re still talking about what my relationship to the company is.”

Now, as Cereva starts ramping up for volume shipments of its storage switch, Kellogg will oversee Cereva’s supplier relationships. Before his stint at Ellacoya, he was a business unit director for Jabil Circuit Inc., a provider of outsourced electronics manufacturing services and also one of Cereva’s current suppliers. Kellogg graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1977 and received an MBA from New Hampshire College in 1995.

Cereva has had more than its fair share of executive turnover recently.

In September, CFO Brian Cohen and VP of sales Timothy Lieto left the company (see Cereva Skids to a Halt)). Cereva then engaged in a legal dispute with Pirus Networks, which had attempted to hire Lieto; Cereva alleged that Lieto was violating a non-compete clause of his contract, and on Oct. 11 Cereva won a ruling preventing Lieto from working at Pirus (see Cereva 1 -- Pirus 0). Since then, the two companies have settled the matter, with Pirus deciding to not challenge the ruling and Cereva withdrawing its suit.

Last month Ganmukhi hired two new executives: Charles Lenis, most recently with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) by way of PixStream, is Cereva’s VP of worldwide sales, customer service and business development. And Kurt Reiss, most recently with Crossbeam Systems Inc., will head up Cereva’s marketing. Reiss worked with Ganmukhi at Lucent and Cascade.In July 2001, Peter Fetterolf, with whom Ganmukhi co-founded optical networking outfit Ignitus Communications (since absorbed by Lucent), was appointed VP of engineering. Cereva has not yet named a CFO to replace Cohen.

Ganmukhi, who became Cereva’s CEO in May 2001, is getting his house in order as the three-and-a-half-year-old company readies for prime time. The company will ship its high-performance storage system “soon,” says a spokesman. Cereva, which is competing with other storage startups like 3PARdata Inc., originally planned to ship its first product in the third quarter of 2001.

— Todd Spangler, special to Byte and Switch

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