Avanex

(AVNX)

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

(JDSU)

.

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

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

and

Alcatel

(ALA)

, along with the optical transmission business of

Vitesse

(VTSS)

.

"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.