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JDS Uniphase execs all shook-up

The troubled optical-networking equipment maker announces a major executive shake-up that includes the retirement of Jozef Straus, the company's controversial chief executive.

Troubled optical-networking equipment maker JDS Uniphase announced a major executive shake-up Thursday that includes the retirement of Jozef Straus, the company's controversial chief executive.

Straus, who led JDS Uniphase for 20 years, will be replaced by JDS board member Kevin Kennedy on Sept. 1. Straus said in a statement that he would continue to serve as "founder emeritus and advisor to the CEO, assisting with strategic and customer-related issues.

"After over twenty years as a founder and executive of this company--a company that I have been immensely honored to serve--I have requested that the board accept my desire to retire as chief executive officer and co-chairman," Straus said.

Kennedy will leave his position as COO of Openwave Systems, the wireless and Internet communications software maker. Openwave said Thursday that Kennedy's position is being eliminated.

Also departing JDS is President and Chief Operating Officer Syrus Madavi who is resigning "to pursue future opportunities outside of JDS Uniphase," the gear maker announced. The former Texas Instruments employee joined JDS last year to help engineer the company's turnaround from years of sagging fortunes.

The executive shake-up is just another bit of troubling news for the optical-networking company, which had expanded to meet a pre-2001 booming demand for equipment. But business has slowed dramatically since then. In 2001, the company had an annual loss of $56 billion--the largest ever recorded by a U.S. company at that time.

While the company's fortunes sank, Straus reportedly collected tens of millions of dollars in stock options.