named Jo Major chief executive, replacing Walter Alessandrini, who will remain chairman.

The Fremont, Calif., distributor of optical parts for telecommunications networks said Major is a 15-year optical communications veteran who most recently held an executive slot at

JDS Uniphase



The company said Alessandrini had been CEO since November 2002, when he was lured out of retirement to start a corporate retrenchment. Avanex subsequently acquired the optical components businesses of


(GLW) - Get Report




, along with the optical transmission business of




"Dr. Major has the experience and understanding to help Avanex take full advantage of its industry-leading position in addressing the growing opportunities in this industry, and turning Avanex into a profitable company," Alessandrini said.

On Monday, Avanex shares plunged 10% to $2.24, setting a 52-week low.