Can Extreme and new CEO better compete with Cisco?

Company taps 20 year industry veteran to try and raise its profile

Extreme Networks, a distant competitor to Cisco in Ethernet switching, this week named industry veteran Oscar Rodriguez as its new president and CEO. Rodriguez takes over for CFO Bob Corey, who had been acting president and CEO since Extreme bid adieu to Mark Canepa - and 10% of its workforce -- last fall.

Rodriguez, who takes the reins at Extreme on Aug. 23, has a 20 year track record in the industry. He was chief marketing officer for Alcatel-Lucent's Enterprise Business Group and also served as president and CEO of Riverstone Networks, a maker of Ethernet routers that was acquired by Lucent Technologies in 2006. Rodriguez was also president of Nortel Networks' Enterprise Solutions and Intelligent Internet divisions, and is currently president and CEO of Movius Interactive, a privately held developer of messaging, collaboration and mobile media products for service providers.  

The question is, will Rodriguez's pedigree make any difference in Extreme's situation? The company is hitting expectations financially - it just reported fourth quarter results of $85.5 million in revenue and earnings of $6.3 million -- in-line with Wall Street estimates. But it's market cap is a paltry $262 million, less than its yearly revenue. 

And the company can't seem to grow market share in Ethernet switching. Extreme had a 1.5% share of the $16 billion Ethernet switch market in 2009 according to Dell'Oro Group, placing it about sixth behind Cisco, HP/3Com, Brocade, Avaya and Huawei. It's been flat for at least the past two years.   

Will Rodriguez make a difference? Can he?

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