- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2005

Malik Khan lives life on his toes. The new chief executive officer of NexTone, a Gaithersburg Internet phone provider, always has been attracted to the fast-paced, constantly changing technology field.

“The technology changes, users’ needs change … and there’s changes in where the changes are coming from,” he said. “It keeps you on your toes.”

That’s not all.

“Not only did I take this job, I moved three teenagers to the Bethesda area. That was a bigger challenge than taking the job,” he said.

At NexTone, Mr. Khan is responsible for overseeing technology development and bringing new products to market, in addition to finance, personnel and administrative responsibilities.

“I thought a lot about the company and the opportunity,” he said, explaining why he took the position and moved his family. “NexTone is a really good company with terrific technology in a very hard market.”

The NexTone board was looking for someone with industry expertise, leadership and a track record of leading successful companies, said board member Pascal Luck, a managing director of Core Capital Partners, a D.C. venture capital firm.

“NexTone is reaching another stage of its growth. … We hired Malik effectively to take the company to the next level,” Mr. Luck said.

Mr. Khan expects to be challenged by the rapid changes in telephone technology. VOIP, which stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, allows users to have telephone conversations over a broadband Internet connection.

“We’re changing 100 years of the telephone infrastructure,” he said. “The phone system hasn’t really been fundamentally changed since Alexander Graham Bell. Voice Over IP is the biggest change, and NexTone has a key role in helping make that change possible.”

His goal is to build NexTone’s market share in the VOIP market so that the company can go public someday while keeping the company’s growth manageable.

“When you’re growing as fast as our company is, sometimes it’s easy to lose your way from a structured-process point of view. I want to be able to become not just a large company, but a profitable large company,” he said.

Mr. Khan was chairman and chief executive of Boston-area technology company Converged Access for a year before coming to NexTone. Before that, he headed up Sitara Networks, a network technology company that raised more than $100 million in venture capital in five years.

Mr. Khan lives in Bethesda with his wife, Paula, and daughters Sara, 19; Nadia, 16; Sehra, 14; Aisha, 10; and Mona, 8.

— Jen Haberkorn

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