Juniper chief gone after review of conduct with customer

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Juniper chief gone after review of conduct with customer
Shaygan Kheradpir

Juniper Networks CEO Shaygan Kheradpir is leaving the company after a review by Juniper's board into his leadership, the vendor said Monday US time.

The board specifically called into question Kheradpir's conduct "in connection with a particular negotiation with a customer," Juniper said. His resignation is effective immediately.

Kheradpir, who joined Juniper in January from Barclays, has been replaced by Rami Rahim, executive vice president and general manager, Juniper Development and Innovation. Rahim will also join the Juniper board.

Scott Kriens, chairman of Juniper's board of directors, said after a close review of Kheradpir's leadership, it was "time for a change".

"In simplest terms, after the board's review on two fronts -- one being [Kheradpir's] leadership and the other, most recently, [having] to do with a specific customer interaction - it was time for a change," Kriens said on a conference call with press and analysts.

"We also believe that the potential before Juniper today deserves nothing less than the best leadership, and we have a compelling, ready leader able to take the company where we want to go and to accelerate Juniper's success," Kriens continued.

An executive from one Juniper partner, who asked not to be named, said he was shocked to see such a sudden change in leadership, but isn't entirely surprised to see Kheradpir go, since he never seemed to fully "connect" with partners or other senior executives at Juniper.  

"I absolutely did not see this coming, but the minute [Kheradpir] stepped up on stage [at the Juniper partner conference] this January - I mean, he was a really smart guy, but he just was not able to connect with a lot of different people," the partner said.

The partner also said Kheradpir's strategy of focusing on cloud builders and what he called "high IQ networks" didn't seem to resonate with the partner community.

"You could tell there was some pressure and frustration there," he said.

Departure comes amid massive Juniper restructuring

Kheradpir's departure comes as Juniper pushes on with a major restructuring effort, known as its Integrated Operating Plan (IOP).

Kheradpir introduced IOP in February, in response to mounting pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, which urged the company to reduce operating expenses, reevaluate its portfolio and shed any non-essential products.

Juniper last month committed to trimming an additional US$100 million in expenses by the end of the year, increasing its prior commitment of US$160 million to US$260 million.

The networking vendor in July laid off about 6 percent of its global workforce, or roughly 550 employees.

Juniper said Monday that all prior commitments made as part of its IOP remain in place.

Rahim's appointment to Juniper CEO is one of many recent changes to the company's executive line-up and marks Juniper's third CEO in less than 18 months. The company has also seen significant turnover within its channel organisation, including the recent departure of worldwide channel chief David Helfer.

Rahim, a 17-year Juniper vet, previously headed all of Juniper's R&D programs across its switching, routing and security units. Juniper said Rahim was also one of the original architects of its MX routing platform.

Steve Burke and Sarah Kuranda contributed to this article.

This article originally appeared at crn.com

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