Avaya Names New Chief Executive, Chairman

According to Avaya, Kevin Kennedy will maintain his post with JDSU until joining Avaya officially in January 2009.

Along with Kennedy's appointment, Avaya has named former Cisco Systems stalwart Charles "Charlie" Giancarlo as chairman of the board, effective when Kennedy assumes the CEO position.

Giancarlo has been acting CEO since former Avaya CEO Louis D'Ambrosio announced in June that he was vacating the position due to health concerns. At the time, D'Ambrosio said he was leaving the chief executive spot "to address a serious medical issue." Upon D'Ambrosio's departure, Avaya hired executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles to find a full-time replacement.

"Kevin Kennedy brings to Avaya a deep understanding of the enterprise communications industry and extensive senior management experience," Giancarlo said in a statement. "He will join Avaya at a time when we are strongly positioned in our industry. Kevin will lead Avaya to even greater success and further our strategy and execution to be the premier enterprise communications partner for our customers."

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Before joining JDSU, which makes broadband and optical test and measurement solutions for service providers, cable operators and networking gear manufacturers, Kennedy served as COO of Openwave Systems. He also spent eight years at Cisco, most recently as senior vice president of the service provider line of software technologies division. Additionally, Kennedy spent 17 years with AT&T Bell Laboratories and, in 1987, was a congressional fellow to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Kennedy also serves as a member of the board of directors of Polycom and KLA-Tencor.

Giancarlo, who was picked by many to succeed John Chambers as CEO of Cisco, resigned from his post as executive vice president and chief development officer for the San Jose, Calif.-based powerhouse in December 2008 and took a managing director position at Silver Lake, a Silicon Valley technology investment firm and one of the two firms that partnered to acquire Avaya in 2007. Giancarlo had been with Cisco for 14 years and, at the time of his departure, was seen as second in command to Chambers.