Scott Kriens, Juniper Networks

Sometimes, timing is everything. In January, 1996, Scott Kriens left the networking company where he had worked for 10 years. Three months later, Cisco Systems (CSCO)--the 800-pound gorilla of Internet equipment makers--bought the company. Had Kriens stayed, he would have been subject to a noncompete clause from Cisco. Instead, Kriens was able to accept the top post at Juniper Networks (JNPR), an upstart maker of Internet routers that's now giving the gorilla fits.

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