Juniper Delivers Solid Results Amid Executive Change

"There was no real moment of realization in any of this," Kriens said on Juniper's second quarter earnings call.

According to Kriens, who will stay on as chairman and play a strategic and leadership role when Johnson takes over as CEO in September, Johnson was the best executive for the job. Johnson will also assume a seat on Juniper's board. Had Johnson not come forward, Kriens said, Juniper likely would've taken on a new executive in a lesser role.

"When this became possible it was simply obvious," he said, adding that Johnson was brought on to help Juniper scale. "Kevin is one of the world class executives. He adds to Juniper's culture and has experience at scale."

Johnson was with Microsoft for 16 years and has been president of the software giant's Platforms and Services Division since 2005. Microsoft announced Johnson's departure Wednesday. The 47-year-old executive oversaw 14,000 employees and products like Windows Vista, Windows Live and Web search. Johnson was also instrumental in Microsoft's so far failed attempts to acquire Yahoo. Juniper on Thursday confirmed that Johnson will assume the chief executive.

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Kriens said he's excited about Johnson joining Juniper, Sunnyvale, Calif., and will rely on Johnson to carry Juniper beyond its roughly $3 billion in revenue to $5 billion, then $10 billion, and more.

"Kevin is going to enhance this team in some very powerful ways. Kriens said. "We are fantastically staffed to make the most of Juniper's opportunities. This is a team that's incredibly capable. We're going to have some fun."

And Johnson, who was not on the earnings call Thursday, will join Juniper at an opportune time. Juniper is "strong and getting stronger," Kriens said.

Despite the weak economy, Juniper reported a rise in quarterly profits, partly due to solid router sales and the growing momentum around Juniper's new line of EX Ethernet switches, launched in January.

Kriens said on the earnings call that second quarter profits rose 40 percent to $120.4 million from $86.2 million in the previous year and revenue jumped 32 percent, rising to $879 million for the quarter.

Juniper sold roughly $10 million worth of EX 3200 and EX 4200 switches in the quarter and now has them deployed in more than 100 global customers, helping push Juniper's enterprise revenue up 29 percent over 2007.

"The EX of course is off to a great start," Kriens said, adding that it's meeting expectations and helping Juniper become more of a portfolio and infrastructure player. "The EX has enabled customers to make portfolio commitments to Juniper."

Along with the EX's enterprise snowballing, Kriens said, Juniper's service provider business remains solid, with cable and telephone companies buying more Juniper gear as they build out their networks.

Overall, Juniper's infrastructure product revenue rose to $575.9 million in the second quarter, up from $402.8 million last year. Meanwhile, service revenue was up to $96.5 million from $78 million; service layer technology product revenue jumped from $138 million last year to $147.9 million in the second quarter; and service layer services revenue grew from $5 million to $58.6 million.

Kriens projected that Juniper's third quarter revenue would hit $925 million to $935 million and that Juniper's full year revenue would exceed the original projection of $3.4 billion to $3.55 billion and hit $3.59 billion to $3.62 billion.

"It's a very busy time for Juniper on many fronts," Kriens said.