Couder steps down at Oclaro

June 10, 2013
Alain Couder has retired as chairman and CEO of Oclaro, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR). Current board members Greg Dougherty and Marissa Peterson will assume the roles of CEO and board chair, respectively.

Alain Couder has retired as chairman and CEO of optical components and subsystems developer Oclaro, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR). Current board members Greg Dougherty and Marissa Peterson will assume the roles of CEO and board chair, respectively.

Couder joined the company, then called Bookham, in 2007 as president and CEO, replacing Giorgio Anania (see “Bookham names new president and CEO”) at a time when the company was struggling for profitability. He succeeded in stabilizing the company, building on a turnaround strategy put in place by COO Jim Haynes and interim president and CEO Dr. Peter Bodui (see “CEOs describe strategies for profitability”).

He then embarked on a pair of major mergers, first with Avanex in 2009 (see "Bookham, Avanex finally agree to merger") that resulted in the name change to Oclaro, then again last year with Opnext Inc. (see “Oclaro, Opnext to merge”). However, the company has again found itself straining to achieve profitability. Oclaro recently took out a bridge loan and announced that it would sell assets to pay it off (see “Oclaro to sell assets to pay off new bridge loans”).

"Couder’s retirement was a little surprising given that he committed two fiscal years to the board and announced this in his FY2012 conference call (July 31, 2012)," commented Daryl Innis, vice president and practice leader, components for market research and consultancy firm Ovum Inc., via an email to Lightwave. "Couder did a good job helping to integrate the industry and making Oclaro a Tier 1 OC [optical components] supplier. He was clear about his intentions and he executed, but I sense the Opnext integration is challenging and customers and investors want to see more progress there. Couder assembled significant talent in Oclaro and Dougherty is charged with using the resources to deliver market-leading solutions and growing a financially robust company."

Dougherty joined Oclaro’s board in 2009 as a result of the Avanex merger; he served as a direct of Avanex from April 2005 to April 2009. His career includes stints as chief operating officer of JDSU and chief operating officer of SDL.

"Through its rich history of mergers and acquisitions, Oclaro has amassed an extensive technology and product portfolio, and I am honored to join its talented team," Dougherty said via an Oclaro press release. "My focus will be to harness those powerful assets to their fullest potential, by accelerating efforts to simplify the company and strengthen our execution; and by focusing on developing and implementing a profitable operating model. My goal is to solidify our position as a leader in the optical industry and to be the preferred supplier to our customers around the world."

Peterson joined the Oclaro board in 2011. She was previously executive vice president, worldwide operations, services, and customer advocacy at Sun Microsystems Inc. She retired from Sun in 2006 after 17 years with the company. She has served on the boards of other companies in the interim.

"On behalf of the entire board, we thank Alain Couder for his contributions to Oclaro," said Peterson. "Since joining the company in 2007, Alain has played an important role in transforming the company from a small optical component company called Bookham into an industry leader. As we look ahead, Oclaro's new CEO, Greg Dougherty brings significant operational experience in the optical industry. We look forward to working closely with Greg as we navigate through the current challenging financial situation."

For more information on optical components and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher

Stephen Hardy has covered fiber optics for more than 15 years, and communications and technology for more than 30 years. He is responsible for establishing and executing Lightwave's editorial strategy across its digital magazine, website, newsletters, research and other information products. He has won multiple awards for his writing.

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