Juniper announced its new operating plan under CEO Shaygan Kheradpir today, one that merges Juniper’s product structures into one entity.
Juniper also added two directors to its board: Former Redback Networks CEO Kevin DeNuccio, and former Cisco executive Gary Daichendt. Former Juniper CEO Kevin Johnson will leave the company’s board at the end of February.
Whether the moves are enough to appease the hedge funds dogging Juniper is yet to be seen. Elliott Management took a stake in Juniper and began pressing the company to lower operating costs and start a share buyback program. Shortly after, Jana Partners did pretty much the same thing.
Here’s the Plan
The integrated operating plan (IOP) includes:
Cost-cutting. By the end of the first quarter of 2015, Juniper intends to lower operating expenses by $160 million compared with the end of 2013 and increase operating margins to 25 percent. Kheradpir himself will helm the cost-cutting committee, helped by the McKinsey consultancy.
The press release didn’t specify anything about layoffs, but on a conference call with analysts today, Kheradpir did say Juniper will be trying to reduce the number of management layers. On Juniper’s earnings call in January, he also seemed to hint that job cuts could be coming.
On today’s call, Kheradpir also noted that R&D spending as a percentage of revenues will be declining over time.
Customer focus. Kheradpir spoke earlier of “high-IQ” networks, and that’s the customer segment Juniper will focus on. It includes Juniper’s traditional service provider market as well as government customers. But the press release also mentions the enterprise market, a sector some people think Juniper should de-emphasize. It sounds like Juniper might start limiting its enterprise attention to the high end of the market, but for now, that’s just a guess.
A new corporate structure. Routing, switching, and security will now be considered one product area, rather than existing as silos. The approach behind this is being called One-Juniper (with the hyphen included, driving copy editors mad worldwide). Organizational changes here will touch R&D, engineering, and the “go-to-market” aspect of sales and marketing.
A dividend and a share repurchase plan. The dividend will be 10 cents per share of common stock, starting in the third quarter of 2014. Juniper will also start a $2 billion share buyback program through the first quarter of 2015, with $1.2 billion of that being an “accelerated” program that will start “shortly.” All told, this should return $3 billion to shareholders, Juniper claims.