Marlin Equity Partners reshuffles executive deck ahead of Coriant, Tellabs merger

As expected, Marlin Equity Partners has announced its intention to merge the recently acquired Tellabs into Coriant. The investment firm set the stage for the mash up by announcing the leadership team of the new Coriant, with Tellabs President and CEO Dan Kelly the odd executive out. Meanwhile, Marlin has decided to spin Tellabs’ optical access activities into a separate business during the first quarter of this year.

The new leadership team will have a heavy Marlin slant. Marlin Operating Partner Bob Leggett will serve as chairman of the board, while Pat DiPietro, also an operating partner at Marlin, will become CEO. Herbert Merz will retain his president title and swap his former CEO role for that of chief operating officer.

Kelly, who assumed the role of Tellabs president and CEO in 2012 shortly before the death of his predecessor, Rob Pullen, will serve in an advisory role during the transition process.

"Dan’s leadership and years of dedicated service at Tellabs have played an important part in the company’s heritage of technology innovation and product leadership,” said Leggett. “We are pleased to have Dan’s support as we make this transition, and are excited to build upon the company’s distinguished heritage and successful track record of delivering customer-centric solutions. With the alignment of the organizations under a single leadership structure and a common vision, Marlin is taking an important step toward fully capitalizing on a highly complementary set of products and customers. Pat’s appointment is further evidence of Marlin’s commitment to Coriant and its customers. He brings deep industry knowledge and proven leadership experience to his role, and we are very pleased and fortunate to have someone of his caliber lead the combined organization.”

Marlin says that the teams from Coriant and Tellabs have already begun to collaborate, but did not provide a timeline for the integration process. Customers “can expect business as usual for the near term,” the company asserted in a press release.

When the merger is completed, it will not include Tellabs’ PON technology, the company announced separately. That business will be set up as a separate entity, under the leadership of Mike Dagenais in the roles of president and CEO.

It appears the business will maintain Tellabs’ recent focus on passive optical LANs (OLANs; see, for example, "Deltek deploys passive optical LAN from Tellabs") while continuing to serve customers using Tellabs’ technology for fiber to the home (FTTH) and other optical access applications.

“With deep customer relationships and a strong portfolio of access solutions to build upon, Marlin is fully committed to the success of the Tellabs Access business. The OLAN business requires focus on distinct channels and this separation positions Tellabs Access for continued rapid growth in this sector,” said Doug Bayerd, a principal at Marlin. “We are pleased to have a seasoned executive with deep industry knowledge and expertise in the leadership position of Tellabs Access. We look forward to partnering with Mike and his leadership team as the company strengthens the long-term value proposition for its customers.”

Dagenais has experience with PON technology, having served as president and CEO of Optical Solutions, a PON systems developer Calix acquired in 2005 (see “Calix to acquire Optical Solutions”). He also was CEO of Radisys Corp., president and CEO of Continuous Computing, and president and COO of Convergent Networks.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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