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Juniper CEO Quits

The company expects its revenue this quarter to be between $1.14 billion and $1.18 billion

Juniper Networks’ CEO Kevin Johnson, recruited from Microsoft in 2008, is supposed to step down once the company finds a replacement.

The move surprised the market, which concluded it was unplanned and comes before any real money was made.

Juniper’s board has formed a search committee to identify a likely candidate and hired Heidrick and Struggles, the chi-chi headhunters, to scout out its possibilities.

It’s not clear why Johnson, all of 52 and credited with architecting Juniper’s Cisco-tweaking software-defined networking (SDN) and fabric technologies, has decided to retire other than “personal priorities” and his family but he’s apparently content to let the next guy “drive the next phase of Juniper’s growth” while sales and profit forecasts currently beat estimates.

His shift has been the beneficiary of heightened mobile traffic and Juniper’s popularity with telecoms companies like Verizon, AT&T and China Mobile, which contribute 30% of the its revenues according to Bloomberg.

Board chairman Scott Kriens said in a statement:

“Speaking personally, on behalf of the entire board, and for everyone at Juniper, I would like to thank Kevin for his tireless commitment and countless contributions. Over the past five years under Kevin’s leadership, Juniper has delivered innovative new products and improved operational capabilities, while the business has grown more than 50%, and we look forward to Kevin’s continuing leadership as we conduct our search for his successor. We are very pleased with our current momentum, and the health and strength of the company as we look towards a bright future in a growing industry.”

Juniper’s shares fell sharply in after-hours trading then recouped.

Its Q2 earnings, reported along with Johnson’s resignation, rose to $97.9 million, or 19 cents a share, from $57.7 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier. Profit excluding some items was 29 cents, topping analysts’ average estimate of 25 cents. Sales increased 7.2% to $1.15 billion, exceeding analysts’ average estimates of $1.09 billion. It’s forecasting results this quarter above expectations.

Juniper’s CMO Lauren Flaherty has just gone to CA Technologies in a similar capacity and in March the head of the company’s Americas partners Frank Vitagliano vamoosed to Dell.

The company expects its revenue this quarter to be between $1.14 billion and $1.18 billion, driven by strong service provider demand and the continued stabilization of its security business.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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