A mysterious CEO change at Stoke


A few months ago we had heard some rumblings that Stoke CEO Randall Kruep was on his way out of the company. Kruep, whom we got to know well when he was running Procket Networks, assured us himself that he was going nowhere.

A couple of weeks later the networking start-up announced a big round of funding, taking the total to about $50 million from investors like Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital.

A surprise awaited us when we check the Stoke management page, following an anonymous tip. Kruep is listed as a founder, but not as the CEO. Instead, the management page points out that Dennis Barsema, a director is now the acting CEO. We wonder what changed between the time when Kruep gave us his assurance and now. Curious, don’t you think.

Just in case you were wondering what does Stoke make, an excerpt from an old post:

The carrier-closet box, which Stoke says is already in trials, is designed to help service providers better manage subscribers from multiple types of emerging access technologies, including WiMAX and dual-mode Wi-Fi/cellular handsets.



Once a fortune teller looked at Randall’s palm and said whatever gamble Randall do, he will succeed. This is the week before he decided to leave Redback and work for Procket.

I have been tracking Randall since then, also to verify how accurate the fortuner teller is.


Waitaminute! Granted Randall ran Redback’s sales during its boom years. His prior act at Cisco was nothing more than average–there are many like him at Cisco and elsewhere–and his track record since Redback (Procket, Stoke) clearly says something too. That history isn’t any remarkable other than one success (for which the 1997-2000 economy takes a big bite for credit) and a couple blowups involving $350M and still counting. How does this qualify him to be a legend? I hope we don’t devalue legends by granting that status too freely.

Has he come up with a vision? built something and created value from nothing? shown the ability to perservere through tough times and taken the ship to port? done it all on a dime, showing frugality and a sense of entrepreneurship readily seen in innumerable immigrants and successful entrepreneurs? …

Om Malik

Randall is a legendary networking guy – lot of history here. that is why its curious, because he is well known in the telecom circles. Which is why anyone paid attention to this company, and also I am guessing was one of the main reasons the company got funded. Maybe he is cooking up something new?


How is this different from 2/3+ of the CEO changes amongst venture funded companies?

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