Updated from 7:40 a.m. EDT
This probably isn't how he pictured it.
Optical component maker
was sharply higher Thursday morning on news that founder Jozef Straus, the beret-topped former Czech citizen who once paid himself $150 million for a year's work, is leaving the company.
Straus, who is retiring, will be succeeded by JDS director Kevin Kennedy, a longtime executive with
The shares were up 25 cents, or 8%, at $3.44 in early afternoon trading on the
Straus oversaw the optical switch company's rags-to-riches story, then collected hundreds of millions of dollars in options compensation as the stock tanked in 2001. He'll step down as chief executive and co-chairman Sept. 1, but remain on the board and continue as an adviser.
Kennedy is the former chief operating officer of
and was formerly senior vice president of Cisco's service-provider unit.
Analysts said Straus' departure is a positive given his avaricious reputation. Recently, JDS was labeled by CalPERS, the largest retirement system in the U.S., as one of the companies with the worst corporate governance in the nation.
"Besides wanting to see Straus out, investors seem to be very excited with Kennedy," said Jim Jungjohann, semiconductor and components analyst at CIBC World Markets. "He came across as being very capable for the job, knowing the business in depth and where the company is positioned in the food chain."
But investors could be jumping the gun. Jungjohann said the new CEO won't be an immediate solution to the company's troubles, which stem from the ongoing reluctance of telecommunications firms to open their wallets.
"It's just a very lackluster market at the moment," he said. "But JDS is still facing significant turmoil: it has lost everyone and it's been hard for it to just break even. Many of its rivals are recovering much more strongly."
Troublingly, JDS also said Syrus Madavi, its president and chief operating officer, resigned to pursue "future opportunities." He'll leave following a transition period.
"What most surprises me is that investors don't seem to be concerned with Syrus' departure," Jungjohann added.
"He has been responsible for the massive restructuring within JDS, and along with Straus, that's two key executives leaving the company, leaving a gap in the senior management department," Jungjohann said.