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Emulex CFO to leave company at year's end

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) -- Data and networking equipment company Emulex said Friday that its chief financial officer, Michael J. Rockenbach, will leave the company at year's end.

The announcement comes just four days after investment firm Starboard Value sent a letter to the company arguing that it is undervalued and needs new leadership.

Emulex Corp. said that it will immediately start a search for a new CFO, considering internal and external candidates. Rockenbach's departure is effective on Dec. 31.

Rockenbach will continue in his roles during the interim. He's served as executive vice president and CFO since 1997.

In a letter addressed to Emulex's board and CEO, Starboard said that the company's shares have fallen about 40 percent over the last five years, doing worse than a group of similar companies and the broader market.

The investment group also criticized the company's board, saying it "has remained stagnant with little change despite dismal performance." According to Starboard, the average tenure among the company's directors is 15 years.

The letter recommends appointing a new board of "independent directors and shareholder advocates" to review Emulex's businesses and "determine the right strategy to enhance shareholder value."

Starboard controls 7.9 percent of Emulex's stock.

Chip designer Broadcom Corp. made an unsolicited takeover offer for Emulex in April 2009 but withdrew its bid in July of that year.

Shares of Emulex, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., added 10 cents to $8.04 in afternoon trading.