Juniper’s latest concession to hedge fund Elliott Management brings a familiar face back to the ranch.
Jim Dolce, one of two Elliott-approved Juniper board additions announced Tuesday morning, was once Juniper’s former executive vice president of field operations. Meaning, he spent part of the early 2000s running sales and marketing as a lieutenant of then-CEO Scott Kriens.
Elliott has been pressuring Juniper to tighten up its business and refocus on the service provider market. Former CEO Shaygan Kheradpir’s plan seemed to appease the hedge fund. He left Juniper abruptly in November, but new CEO Rami Rahim has pledged to keep the plan going.
Back in the day, some of us figured Dolce a candidate for CEO, should Kriens ever step aside.
That never happened; Dolce left Juniper early in 2006. His departure was never fully explained, but five executives ended up leaving the company in the first months of that year, giving the impression that some changes were rumbling through Juniper.
Then again, Dolce arrived at Juniper as a CEO — running Unisphere when Juniper acquired that company for $740 million in 2002 — and it’s possible he wanted to be back in a corner office.
He got that opportunity with Verivue, a content delivery network (CDN) software company that raised more than $85 million and was acquired by Akamai in a deal announced late in 2012.
(Random footnote: Dolce’s opposite number at Juniper was Lloyd Carney, who was operating officer and head of engineering. Carney likewise left Juniper and became a CEO, first of Xsigo, then of Brocade.)
Nowadays, Dolce is CEO of Lookout, a security startup focusing on malware protection for mobile devices. Lookout seems to be doing OK, judging by the $150 million funding round it announced in August.
Aren’t We Forgetting Something?
Oh, right. That other new board member …
He’s Rahul Merchant, a veteran CIO who now “runs his own advisory firm,” according to Juniper’s press release. He’s also on the board of Emulex — which led to this bit of speculation Wednesday, when Avago announced a deal to acquire Emulex. (Hat tip to Infonetics analyst Andrew Schmitt, who pointed that out on Twitter.)
Dolce and Merchant’s terms on the board will begin March 1.
Their addition means four of Juniper’s 13 board members are outsiders approved by Elliott. Last February, Kevin DeNuccio and Gary Daichendt were added to Juniper’s board, apparently at Elliott’s behest.