February 9, 2001 3:25 PM PST

Start-up Procket Networks names CEO

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A Redback Networks executive will take the helm of secretive Silicon Valley start-up Procket Networks.

Randall Kruep, formerly Redback's senior vice president of worldwide customer operations, will become Procket's new chief executive and president in March. He will replace co-founder Sharad Mehrotra, who will continue as chairman.

Procket has created a buzz in the networking business because of its management team of former Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems engineers--and because the company has quietly been building what some sources believe is next-generation networking equipment that can take on Cisco and Juniper Networks.

Procket, which has raised $34 million in venture capital, was co-founded by Tony Li, a former Cisco and Juniper engineer who created some of the key technologies for those companies. The two-year-old start-up was also co-founded by former Sun engineers Mehrotra and William Lynch, who designed forthcoming versions of Sun's flagship UltraSparc processors.

Kruep's hiring as CEO will allow the three co-founders to continue developing their product, said Mehrotra in an interview.

"Randall is a topnotch sales executive and brings broad experience as a seasoned executive to take us to the next level," said Mehrotra. "Tony, (William), and I are highly technical. Think of us as high-class technical nerds. And the product we're working on has tremendous opportunities for us to keep contributing technically. There's no shortage of work."

With Kruep on board, Procket will have an experienced executive who at Redback helped turn a networking start-up into a successful business. Redback, one of many networking start-ups that splashed onto Wall Street with successful public offerings, found a niche four years ago by building networking hardware that lets telecommunications service providers offer high-speed Net access through cable or digital subscriber line (DSL).

Redback, Juniper, Foundry Networks, Extreme Networks and others have made strides in the market, despite serious competition from Cisco, Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies and others.

Mehrotra declined to state what Procket is building and when the company will go public with its product plans.

While Procket has remained quiet, sources believe the two-year-old start-up has good potential because they believe the company is building new high-speed routers, which telecommunications service provides use in their networks to handle the explosion of Net traffic. Routers send Internet traffic over a network at high speeds.

Cisco and Juniper are the two dominant players in the fast-growing high-end router market, which is expected to reach $2.1 billion in sales this year and $12 billion by 2003, according to market research company RHK.

 

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