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Ask the CEOs: Are You Hiring?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What are America's corporate leaders saying about the issues of the day? TheStreet's reporters, during the course of their weekly coverage, will pose a thematic question to the business executives they interview.

This week's question: Are you hiring?

Gary Smith, Ciena CEO

Ciena (CIEN - Get Report) CEO Gary Smith: "We are hiring, albeit modestly." Ciena sells optical networking gear to phone companies looking to boost traffic capacity. The Linthicum, Maryland-based company is in the final stages of integrating a large acquisition of Nortel's infrastructure business, which doesn't exactly put Ciena in expansion mode.

The combination of Ciena's business with Nortel's unit has led to some "rationalization" of staff sizes, Smith said. "But synergies isn't necessarily a euphemism for firing," he said, explaining the give-and-take in adjusting the business. Smith says Ciena is hiring in areas where it hopes to find growth amid a sputtering economic recovery.

"People are still cautious and mindful of the uncertainties," says Smith, referring to the outlook of his customers. "The sentiment is generally better than it was a year ago, when I'd say people were more cautious," he says.

"We will end up the year with more employees than we had when we started the year," Smith said. And those hires will be "all over the globe, not just in North America."

Andy Miller, Polycom president and CEO

Polycom (PLCM - Get Report) CEO Andy Miller: "We will continue to hire, but not as aggressively as we did in 2010." Polycom, based in Pleasanton, Calif., provides videoconferencing systems for global 1000 firms and competes chiefly with Cisco (CSCO) in the telepresence space. Polycom employs about 3,400 people and hired 537 workers last year. "Last year we were turbo-charged. This year, we're still looking at opportunities ahead of us, all of which require operational expertise and people."

E.W. Scripps (SSP - Get Report) CEO Rich Boehne: "We've been hiring. Especially in newsrooms. The one thing we have not done is cut deeply into newsrooms. We really believe our business is about great and interesting and compelling content. Being great storytellers. So, we continue to put money into content and beef up on that side of the business." The Cincinnati-based media concern's shares trade at a trailing 12 months' price-to-earnings ratio of 4.60.

Informatica (INFA) CEO Sohaib Abbasi: "We have hired every quarter, even during the recession," says the chief executive of the data integration software provider, which say revenue jump by 30% in 2010. The Redwood City, California company benefited not only from the cyclical economic recovery, but also from secular growth in the social networking and could computing sectors.
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