Opnext to launch search this month for Bouchard replacement

JANUARY 6, 2011 By Stephen Hardy -- Optical module and laser vendor Opnext Inc. expects to begin its search for a replacement for former president and CEO Gilles Bouchard in the next few weeks. Interim President and CEO Harry Bosco, the man Bouchard replaced in April 2009, told Lightwave that a special hiring committee likely will be created at a board meeting this month.

Jan 6th, 2011

JANUARY 6, 2011 By Stephen Hardy -- Optical module and laser vendor Opnext Inc. expects to begin its search for a replacement for former president and CEO Gilles Bouchard in the next few weeks. Interim President and CEO Harry Bosco, the man Bouchard replaced in April 2009, told Lightwave that a special hiring committee likely will be created at a board meeting this month.

“We’re going to look for an experienced person who knows the optical industry,” Bosco said in an interview last month before the holidays. “And, obviously, the operational aspects of the individual have to be pretty strong. But you know in this industry, also it’s being able to weed through all of the technologies and make the right decisions.” Given the fact that Opnext has significant roots in Japan as a spin out of Hitachi, Bosco added that the ideal candidate “the individual has to have an international flair to them also.”

Bouchard resigned last month for personal reasons, according to Bosco. After declining to elaborate on those reasons, Bosco praised Bouchard’s tenure. “He’s done a lot of good things as far as the operational aspects of the company. And he’s also given some pretty good guidance into some of the future direction of the company,” Bosco said.

Bosco also praised the company’s remaining management team and said that a promotion from among the ranks was not out of the question.

In the meantime, Bosco will continue to run the company for as long as it takes to put the right person in place. “This could be a three month, could be a six month process,” he added. “And then obviously there’s a transition period that has to go on because we are a little bit of a complex company because of the Japanese as well as U.S. operations.”

The mandate for the new hire will be clear. “We’re going to really focus on getting to profitability as fast as possible,” Bosco asserted. “We have done a lot of things to date. I don’t want to get anybody nervous. We’re going to keep our development programs going. But then the efficiency of driving the organization so that basically we can drive our break even point lower [will be important]. We have all the ingredients of a healthy company. We just have to drive it home now. We’re just going to drive shareholder value up.”

Bosco cited progress in 40-Gbps modules, the company’s work to develop 100-Gbps transponders, and upcoming tunable 10-Gbps laser components and modules as bright spots that should help drive growth. The overall environment also should bode well for the new hire.

“The business has come back substantially right now and it looks like it’s going to keep going, as everyone else has seen in the marketplace right now,” Bosco said.

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