Extreme Networks named former Sun storage executive Mark Canepa as its new CEO this week, replacing the outgoing Gordon Stitt, who was the company's first chief executive.

Canepa comes to Extreme after 10 years at Sun, where he most recently served as executive vice president of the Network Storage Products Group. Prior to Sun, Canepa served in several general manager roles at HP.

Stitt, who co-founded the company in 1996 along with Stephen Haddock, Herb Schneider and Vipin Jain, announced his plans to step down as CEO in May. Stitt led Extreme from a small start-up company to a 1999 IPO, the boom-and-bust of the dot-com and telecom markets, and expansion into carrier, wireless and security markets.

At Sun, Canepa oversaw the integration of the company's US$4.1 billion acquisition of StorageTek - a move that got mixed reviews from analysts and investors. Industry observers say Sun's storage business never stepped up to challenge vendors such as EMC or NetApp under Canepa's management.

In May, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz replaced Canepa with David Yen, who had led Sun's SPARC processor group.

At Extreme, Canepa faces even greater challenges, as Extreme competes in the Cisco-dominated enterprise/carrier network markets. Canepa must also turn around Extreme's financial performance, as the company's $82.4 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006 (which ended Aug. 2) is down 14 percent from a year ago.