Less than six months after taking over Arris, CommScope has completely turned over its top-level executive ranks, with CPE chief Larry Robinson slated to walk out the door next month.
Robinson, who departs following a 9% second-quarter sales dip for his division, will be replaced by veteran set-top industry executive Joe Chow, a longtime denizen of Cisco, and later through mergers and acquisitions, Technicolor.
Chow most recently served as senior VP of product and program management at Quantenna, the company that put the Wi-Fi chipset in Comcast’s XB6 gateway.
“My background is steeped in developing and deploying CPE. I delivered software services, DVRs, and broadband gateways. I started the IPTV business at Cisco. Later, I became the general manager for its entire CPE business,” Chow said, introducing himself with a CommScope company blog post.
Having endured quite a bit of M&A himself, Chow added, should help. “Everyone is facing challenges across many fronts. We’re contending with far more diversity and product fragmentation than in the past. Speeds are getting faster. Devices are more connected. Experiences are converging. Connected homes are becoming a reality. But the big question is how this all ties together.”
As for Robinson, he’d been with Arris since 2013, when the company acquired Motorola Home. He exits right behind Bruce McLelland, the former Arris CEO who was bounced from the CommScope COO position last week, just a few months after his new overlords propped him up in the position.
Other recent high-level Arris departures include Dan Whalen, who oversaw the also-struggling network and cloud business. He gave way to Kevin Keefe, who also joined Arris in the Motorola Home acquisition.
Ian Whiting, who headed the Ruckus Wireless division acquired by Arris last year, departed in June. CommScope senior VP and CTO Morgan Kurk has taken over Whiting’s role.
No matter who’s in the corner offices, Arris is facing many challenges. Not only has Donald Trump’s tariff war disrupted its Asian manufacturing, but longtime telecom technology businesses including set-tops and cable network access equipment are facing disruption.
CommScope paid $7.4 billion to acquire Arris, closing on the company in the first quarter. Immediate speculation had CommScope breaking off the CPE piece from Arris and divesting it. But there hasn't been much buzz about that recently.
“This decision to flatten our leadership structure expands accountability, which we've been striving to do in virtually every part of our company as part of our transformation,” CommScope CEO Eddie Edwards told investment analysts during last week’s Q2 call, explaining the decision to sack McClelland. “I am deeply committed to CommScope's continued growth and success and with the board's full support I'm taking a more active day-to-day operational role in leading our company through these challenging times.”
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