Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Sylantro Appoints New CEO, Raising the Bar

Today, Sylantro Systems announced the appointment of Marco Limena as President/CEO. As outlined in the press release, Mr. Limena was previously at HP for 14 years, and was most recently VP of their Network and Service Provider Solution business.

This was news to me, and while I do not know Mr. Limena, I've got a pretty good handle on where Sylantro is going, having just attended their customer conference a few weeks ago in Las Vegas.

My initial reaction is this a very shrewd, sound move by Sylantro, and it raises the bar in a critical area. Mr. Limena seems to have solid, high profile, global, Tier 1 experience, which is important on many levels. All these things matter for a maturing startup company trying to come out a winner in its space, and to position itself for the all-important Tier 1 carrier business. All the app server platform vendors have cut their teeth on the Tier 2s and Tier 3s - Sylantro, BroadSoft, VocalData, NetCentrex, and even LongBoard if you go back far enough. Things have certainly evolved, but if you're aiming high, the big money will be made with the Tier 1s.

Aside from extensive leadership and management experience, no doubt Mr. Limena brings an A-list set of Tier 1 carrier contacts and relationships, and this could well be Sylantro's trump card. They've done a great job to build up their management team, and his addition gives them even more major league presence.

I'm sure this will please Sylantro's investors, as his addition will probably make it easier to raise money and inspire investor confidence if/when they go public. Filtering down into the organization, I would think Sylantro will now be better able to attract and retain talent from the same pool Mr. Limena comes from. It also sets the bar higher for their competitors who will be looking to keep pace as these vendors ratchet up the stakes to be the next Acme Packet.

Finally, I should mention that this is a move of addition, and not subtraction or substitution. Sylantro's founder, Pete Bonee, moves out of this role to become Chairman, which only makes sense. He's taken the company a long way, and I don't think it's a stretch to say their Board wanted someone with Mr. Limena's background to take Sylantro to the next level. It's not the first time a move like this has happened, and I'm sure everyone involved sees this as a way to keep moving the boat forward and to separate themselves from the pack as the IPO siren call gets louder.

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