Avici boots CEO Kaufman

Router vendor Avici Systems on Monday sacked its CEO after a 65 percent drop in third-quarter revenue.

Steve Kaufman, Avici's CEO since July 2001, has been replaced on an interim basis by board member William Leighton. Leighton retired recently from AT&T, Avici's largest customer.

Kaufman's ouster comes less than four weeks after Avici recorded third-quarter revenue of US$3.7 million, down from US$10.5 million in sales for the third quarter of 2003. Kaufman attributed the shortfall to delays in anticipated network build-outs and timing of expected orders in a Sept. 27 warning.

Avici posted a third-quarter loss of US$10.4 million, or US$0.82 per share, compared to a loss of US$9.1 million, or US$0.75 per share, in the prior year's third quarter. Avici has yet to record a quarterly or yearly profit since its founding in 1996.

In a statement, Avici Chairman Surya Panditi said the decision to replace Kaufman was "prompted by the rapidly changing landscape in the telecommunications equipment business."

He said Leighton accepted the position "under difficult circumstances" and that his background in network research, design and services is "well suited to guide Avici's strategic direction going forward."

Leighton spent 27 years at AT&T Labs and Bell Labs. Most recently, he served as vice president of research, and previously as vice president of network development, where he led the design and development of AT&T's IP and data networks and services.

Kaufman replaced Panditi as CEO in 2001.

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