Cabletron has appointed its third chief executive in two years to turn its fortunes around amid growing speculation that it is considering spinning off parts of the business to strengthen its share price.
Craig Benson, co-founder of Cabletron, has been succeeded by Piyush Patel, formerly chief executive of Yago Systems, which Cabletron acquired in 1998. Benson insisted it was on his recommendation that the board replaced him with Patel after a 14-month tenure. Benson will remain a director.
He said: 'Cabletron has 5,100 employees. For the company to flourish, the focus needs to be on the company as a whole, not me.
'It is also for personal reasons because after 20 years in networking, I feel it is time to move on and do something different.'
Ironically, when Benson took the helm in April 1998, he claimed former chief executive Don Reed had asked him to do so. Reed also remained a director of Cabletron.
Despite a return to profitability in the fourth quarter ended 28 February, Cabletron's share price continues to flag. Recently, Bob Travis, director of analyst relations at Cabletron, suggested it could create a separate company out of its Spectrum software unit to boost market capitalisation.
Earlier this year, Benson pledged to focus on four key competencies: services; network management and software; enterprise networking; and service provider systems (PC Dealer, 31 March).
Patel, who as senior vice president of worldwide engineering was responsible for Cabletron's research and development team, said he would make few changes.
However, he conceded: 'Our sales and marketing strategies will be restructured to go after the service provider market.'
This will include transferring some of the direct sales force from enterprise accounts to focusing on tier one service providers, Patel said.
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