February 12, 2004 Naperville, IL -- The Tellabs board of directors today appointed Tellabs' new chief executive officer and president, Krish Prabhu, a seasoned executive whose 24 years of telecom experience include roles as COO of Alcatel Telecom and CEO of Alcatel USA. Tellabs chairman of the board Michael J. Birck calls the appointment "a classic fit."
Prabhu also joins Tellabs' board of directors and will be included in the election slate for Tellabs' 2004 annual stockholder meeting. Birck, a company founder, a board member throughout the company's 29-year-history and CEO for 27 years, continues as chairman of the board. Both appointments are effective immediately.
"Krish Prabhu is the right leader to guide Tellabs forward, balancing a clear vision of the industry's future with the real-world ability to get the right things done," Birck contends. "He knows the business, knows the technologies, knows the customers, and possesses the kind of ethical background that this company demands of its people. All those things taken together match point-for-point what we had in our job description."
While Prabhu admits his immediate priority is to "soak up as much as I can, listen to people, and learn what's here," he looks forward to significant growth opportunities for Tellabs and the telecommunications industry as a whole.
"Even through the downturn--the last three years where the industry has shrunk anywhere from 40% to 50% by different estimates--there's also been increased demand, especially as we look at wireless and the Internet," he reports. "The real increase in demand has come as the user community has transitioned more toward kids. Literally, two-thirds of all kids over the age of 17 have a cell phone, and one-third of all kids over the age of 12 have a cell phone. User patterns have changed. The network must evolve or transition to meet the needs of younger people, and it's in that transitioning of the network that there will be significant opportunities for us."
"The industry is a lot stronger today," adds Prabhu. "The industry has resized, debt levels are normal, and the marginal players have disappeared because of bankruptcies. Yes, I think this is the right time. Waiting for another two years may mean we're late, and we couldn't have done much earlier because the industry was cleansing itself."
Prabhu began his telecommunications career in 1980 with AT&T's Bell Laboratories as a member of the technical staff. In 1984, he joined Rockwell International's Network Transmission Division, where he served in various positions in research and development as well as management. After Rockwell's Network Transmission Division was acquired by Alcatel in 1991, Prabhu became vice president of business development and chief technical officer at Alcatel Network Systems, a role in which he oversaw research, product development, and business development. He served as president of Alcatel Broadband Products for Alcatel Europe in 1995, until being promoted to CEO of Alcatel USA in 1997. In 1999, he was named chief operating officer of Alcatel Telecom. In 2001, Prabhu became a venture partner in Morgenthaler Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA, and Cleveland, OH.
The Tellabs board unanimously backs Prabhu's appointment. "In our view, this is the right time, and Krishna is the right person," asserts Birck. "When you have those two things adding up, it says good things are ahead. And I believe they are."