Polycom Seats New CEO As Conferencing Sector Heats Up

Andrew Miller on Monday was named Polycom Inc.’s (PLCM) new president and CEO.

The 50-year-old Miller, whom Polycom hired last July to energize the sales channel, replaces Robert Hagerty. Hagerty will stay at Polycom as a consultant for at least one year but otherwise has resigned from the company. Lead independent director David Dewalt has taken over as board chairman.

The management change-up comes as Polycom, the last standalone provider of video and audio conferencing equipment, faces intense competition from giants including Cisco Systems Inc. and Logitech International. Cisco last month closed its TANDBERG acquisition and Logitech bought LifeSize Communications last year. Polycom has since been the subject of takeover speculation.

But Miller won’t talk about his plans on the M&A front. He would only tell the Wall Street Journal on Monday that he plans to keep expanding Polycom’s partnerships – such as the ones forged with HP, IBM and [Juniper Networks under Hagerty – so it can surpass Cisco’s customer reach.

“We have to build better products than Cisco,” Miller told the Journal. “I believe today our product portfolio and roadmap is as good or better than Cisco.”

Whatever Miller does, it’s likely he’s keeping his rivals’ ways of thinking in mind. Miller worked at Cisco for 11 years and served as TANDBERG’s CEO from January 2002 to January 2006.

Money, Money, Money

Miller’s new position comes with a $600,000 annual base salary and bonus that could amount to 100 percent of that yearly compensation. He also has received 15,000 performance shares and another 15,000 restricted stock units. The first set of shares comes with the following conditions: three 12-month performance periods measuring total shareholder return against the Russell 2000 Index, an institutional investment benchmark. For the other shares, one-third will vest next year and the remainder will vest over the two following years as long as Miller works for Polycom.

If Miller leaves Polycom for any reason other than cause, death or disability, he’ll receive a severance payment equal to 200 percent of his salary, plus 200 percent of his bonus for the fiscal year prior to his termination date.

Polycom in April reported first-quarter net income of $5.4 million, down from $8 million a year earlier. Shares of the California-based vendor were trading 5.21 percent higher by about noon Eastern on Monday, at $30.72.

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