Richman has an uphill battle in front of him. Covad filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early August, beaten down by weakening demand for DSL services, increased competition from Baby Bells, and the weight of over $1.4 billion in debt. Covad's stock, which was $18 at its 52-week high, now trades around 48 cents.
Richman plans to incorporate strategies he learned by working at rapid growth companies, most recently as vice president and CFO at Internet service provider MainStreet Networks. "I plan to bring all parts of the company together adding control and natural discipline to business plans," he says.
"He has the opportunity to really make a name for himself if he can turn around Covad--a real high-name company in a closely-watched industry," says Cahners In-Stat Group senior analyst Darryl Schoolar. "And, if the company doesn't emerge, he won't walk away with a lot of mud on his face, due to the current situation."