PAUL ALLEN QUITS MICROSOFT BOARD
Redmond, WASH. — Michael J. Martinez reports that Paul Allen is leaving Microsoft’s board of directors but will remain an adviser to Bill Gates, the prep school buddy with whom he co-founded the company. Allen, the world’s third-richest man with an estimated net worth of $36 billion, will spend about the same amount of time working with Microsoft, but will focus less on business and more on technology, the company said Thursday. Allen will formally leave the board on Nov. 9, the day of Microsoft’s annual shareholders’ meeting. “Being an active board member for a dynamic and successful company such as Microsoft is a time-consuming role and one I have enjoyed for many years,” Allen said in a news release. “This new role will enable me to spend my time on technology and products where I can really make a significant contribution.” A source close to the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Allen will likely spend the same amount of time on Microsoft matters as he has in the past, but will not be dealing with business issues.
“Paul and I have an amazing friendship that extends back 30 years,” Gates said. “I will continue to value his friendship and counsel in the years ahead.” Also departing the board is director Richard Hackborn, who has been on the board since 1994. The company said in a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the two will not be replaced, reducing the size of the board from eight to six members.
Allen and Gates founded Microsoft in 1975. Allen left in 1983 in the midst of a battle with Hodgkin’s disease. He went on to become a successful entrepreneur and investor, and today has a hand in some 140 new media companies. He also owns the Seattle Seahawks football team and Portland Trail Blazers basketball team, and in June opened a $240 million shrine to American music, the Experience Music Project, in Seattle. Hackborn will leave his seat on Microsoft’s board to spend more time on personal and philanthropic pursuits, the company said. Hackborn stepped down as chairman of the board of Hewlett-Packard Co. last week, but will remain on the Hewlett-Packard board. He retired from Hewlett-Packard in 1993 as the executive vice president of the Computer Products Organization.
BEN ROSEN STEPS DOWN AS COMPAQ CHAIRMAN
San Diego, CALIF. — Ben Rosen, Compaq Computer Corp.’s chairman for 18 years, unexpectedly retired last week, handing the reins of the world’s largest PC manufacturer over to Michael Capellas, who assumes the title in addition to his current role as the company’s CEO. Compaq’s board of directors unanimously approved the move, which was announced after the U.S. stock market closed last Thursday. Rosen, 67, was named chairman emeritus, an honorary title. “I have worked with a lot of companies during the past three decades, but none has meant more to me than Compaq,” Rosen said in a letter to employees announcing the changes. “I am retiring with a great deal of pride in what you have accomplished.” Rosen, a principal at Sevin Rosen, added that he was “delighted” that Capellas, 46, was appointed to succeed him. “Michael is ideally suited to lead this company,” he said. “He has proven his leadership during one of the most challenging periods in the company’s history.”
Capellas was appointed CEO in July 1999, three months after his predecessor, Eckhard Pfeiffer, was ousted shortly after the computer maker stunned market analysts and investors by reporting first-quarter earnings that were half of what were expected. While the poor showing was blamed on sluggish PC and server sales, analysts and industry insiders were harshly critical of Pfeiffer and his failed efforts to rework Compaq’s sales and distribution organizations to more effectively compete with the direct-order model fueling Dell Computer Corp.’s surging market share. In addition, Pfeiffer was criticized heavily for failing to integrate Digital Equipment Corp. and Tandem Computer Corp. – deals that were approved by Rosen and the board. The Pfeiffer ouster was a stark reminder of Rosen’s swift and ruthless firing of Compaq founder Rod Canion just eight years earlier. Indeed, observers last summer speculated at the time that the axe-wielding chairman was one reason the Houston-based computer maker had difficulty filling Pfeiffer’s job – an effort that stretched three months and included many interviews, but no takers.
Last year’s appointment of Capellas, now considered an insider at Compaq, surprised many analysts, since Compaq had publicly declared it was looking outside of the company for new leadership. Prior to joining Compaq in 1998 as CIO, Capellas worked in various executive positions at Oracle Corp., SAP AG America and Schlumberger. In particular, Capellas’ detailed understanding of the supply management issues were highly valued as Compaq struggled to reshape itself to compete more effectively against Dell’s made-to-order model. It is this hands-on background that has some IT managers feeling comfortable about Capellas’ ascension to the chairmanship.
“Capellas comes from an IT background, and I’m hoping he’ll remember his roots,” said Tom Miller, senior director of Information Systems at Affymetrix Inc. in Santa Clara, Calif., and an eWEEK Corporate Partner. “We hope he remembers what it’s like to manage an environment with those products.” In the past year, Capellas has been credited with assembling a highly regarded management team, streamlining the company’s supply chain, and reinvigorating its product and sales efforts.
BAKBONE SOFTWARE NAMES FINAN. CHIEF
San Diego, CALIF. — BakBone Software, Inc., a global leader in providing storage management software solutions with offices in North America, Europe and Asia, today announced the appointment of Robert F. Wilson, to the position of Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Wilson has worked in the investment-banking industry for more than fourteen years in North America and Europe with RBC Dain Rauscher Wessels, Goldman Sachs and as a Vice President at Salomon Smith Barney. For the past five years, Mr. Wilson has worked with emerging-growth companies, and recently founded the Clicking Network of Toronto, Canada, providing financial and strategic advisory services primarily to early-stage technology businesses.
“Bob’s unique mix of capital market experience in both the investment banking industry and with emerging growth technology companies will support BakBone’s evolving financial strategies in the highly competitive and fast growing storage management software market,” commented Tony Cerqueira, BakBone’s Chief Executive Officer. “Bob is a highly skilled executive who will provide added guidance to the BakBone management team, further positioning the company as a key long-term investment in the storage management software industry. We are thrilled to have him on board as part of our team.” Mr. Wilson serves as an advisor and director of several public and private emerging-growth companies in the U.S. and Canada. He received a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of Business.
CONCURRENT ANNOUNCES EXECUTIVE REORGANIZATION
Atlanta, GA. — Concurrent Computer Corporation announced Jack Bryant, current President of the VOD Division – XSTREME, will be promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer to take effect simultaneously with the Company’s Annual Shareholder Meeting, October 26, 2000. Steve Nussrallah, who has been instrumental in building the VOD business for the Company, will simultaneously be appointed by the Board of Directors to the position of Chairman of the Board. At that time, Steve Nussrallah will replace Morton Handel, current Chairman of the Board, who will remain a director. Steve Nussrallah commented, “Two years ago, we refocused the company to enter a completely new market – a market that was about to explode – Video-On-Demand. We had the technology to make a superior product. We built the team, made the partnerships, and laid the foundation to become a world-class VOD company. Today, we have secured the early leadership position and are well poised for the future. As Chairman of the Board, I am pleased that I will be able to remain a part of the bright future that lies ahead for this dynamic company.”
Jack Bryant, who was hired to lead the XSTREME management team in July of this year, brings over 18 years of cable television related experience to Concurrent. Most recently, Jack Bryant was the President of the Network Technologies Group at Antec Corporation, a leading communications technology company that specializes in hybrid-fiber-coax (HFC)-based networks. As President of the Network Technologies Group, Jack was responsible for leading the product management, engineering, technical support, and sales efforts for the company’s broadband transmission, network powering, and Keptel outside plant products. In this position, he successfully managed the re-design of the entire broadband transmission product offering, growing that business unit 100% over the last two years. Jack Bryant commented, “I am excited about this wonderful opportunity. Concurrent has established itself as the market leader and fiscal year 2001 already looks to be another great year in terms of VOD deployments. We plan to take full advantage of the wealth of opportunities before us. I look forward to continuing the positive momentum Steve and the Concurrent team have begun and am determined to solidify Concurrent’s position as the leading VOD provider worldwide.” Morton Handel, a director since 1991 and a former Chairman of the Board, stated, “I am sad to see Steve vacate the CEO position, however, I know the opportunity in front of him fulfills one of his lifelong dreams. Steve has helped us position this company as the leader in the VOD marketplace and we are pleased Steve has accepted the position of Chairman of the Board. He has my full endorsement and my continued support.”
LEGATO NAMES DAVID WRIGHT PRES, CEO
Mountain View, CALIF. — Legato Systems, Inc., a worldwide leader in enterprise storage management and application availability, announced it has appointed a new chief executive officer, as well as a new chief financial officer, to its executive management team. David B. Wright, formerly the president and CEO of Amdahl Corporation, joins Legato as president and CEO. Andrew Brown, the former CFO of Adaptec, Inc., joins Legato as CFO. Both Wright and Brown bring valuable technology and storage industry experience to Legato. “David and Andy are experienced industry leaders, each having successfully grown multibillion dollar technology companies. In addition, both executives come to this team with solid storage industry expertise, essential to our success as we extend our global leadership in the rapidly growing data storage marketplace of enterprises and service providers,” said Lou Cole, chairman of the Legato board of directors and former president and CEO. “I am pleased that the addition of this outstanding management talent will enable me to shift my energies from day-to-day operations toward a focus on strategic direction,” observed Cole.
“We are fortunate to have in David an individual who, with more than twenty years of industry experience, possesses a compelling mix of market experience, leadership strengths, and customer knowledge,” said Cole. Wright served in many leadership positions during his fourteen-year tenure with Amdahl, culminating with the role of president and CEO for the past three years. Amdahl has experienced tremendous growth under Wright’s leadership, where he built the company into a successful $2 billion corporation, overseeing 12,000 employees worldwide.
THE MPLS FORUM ELECTS NETWORKING INDUSTRY LEADERS
Fremont, CALIF. — The MPLS Forum, an industry-wide association of leading networking and telecommunication companies focused on accelerating the deployment of multi-vendor MultiProtocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks and associated applications, today announced the election results for its new board of directors, replacing the interim board that has served the Forum since its inception six months ago. The new board of directors, as elected by the Forum’s member companies, includes: David Drury (Forum President & Chairman) of Marconi, Rick Wilder (Forum Vice Chairman & Secretary) of BroadBand Office, and Andrew Malis (Forum Vice President of Technology) of Vivace Networks. “The MPLS Forum has made considerable progress in a very short amount of time, and has quadrupled its membership to more than 70 member companies within just six months,” said David Drury, president and chairman of The MPLS Forum. “As the Forum continues to gain momentum within the industry, we will continue focusing on the successful deployment of MPLS by defining capability sets, outlining deployment scenarios, championing interoperability initiatives and continuing educational outreach programs.”
The first course of action for the new board was to review the Forum’s mission. This review resulted in a slight modification to the Forum’s mission statement to place a stronger emphasis on “multi-vendor MPLS networks” rather than “MPLS technologies.” In the end, the Forum members want to facilitate the deployment of MPLS networks that deliver MPLS-enabled services and applications generating revenue opportunities for network service providers and carriers. The MPLS Forum is an industry-wide association of leading networking and telecommunications companies focused on advancing the deployment of multi-vendor MPLS networks and associated applications. The Forum will achieve this through interoperability initiatives, implementation agreements, and educational programs. The founding members of the Forum include: Broadband Office, Data Connection Ltd, Ennovate Networks, George Mason University Advanced Internet Lab, GlobeSpan, NetPlane Systems (acquired by Conexant), Integral Access, Inverness Systems (acquired by Virata), Nokia, Lucent Technologies, Marconi plc, Qwest Communications, Telcordia Technologies, Tenor Networks, Valiant Networks, and Vivace Networks.
RED HAT NAMES KEVIN THOMPSON VP OF OPERATIONS
Research Triangle Park, N.C. — Red Hat, Inc., the leader in developing, deploying and managing open source Internet infrastructure solutions, announced today the appointment of Kevin Thompson to the position of Vice President of Operations. Thompson formerly served as a partner in the Global Technology Industry Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he directed stock offerings and oversaw mergers and acquisitions at public and private technology companies. “Kevin’s global experience in assisting rapidly growing companies is a strong plus for Red Hat,” said Matthew Szulik, CEO of Red Hat. Prior to his position at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thompson served as a senior manager for Arthur Andersen LLP for 10 years, overseeing public offerings and directing projects for multi-national companies in North America, Latin American and Southeast Asia. Thompson is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration with highest honors from the University of Oklahoma.
“I am excited about the opportunity to help Red Hat achieve its tremendous potential by bringing to Red Hat the unique blend of operational and financial knowledge and experience I have gained in working with high-growth and multi-national companies,” said Thompson. International Data Corp. (IDC) research states that paid Linux shipments grew faster than any other server operating system over the past two years, and their preliminary figures for 1999 show Linux shipments hold 24.6 percent of the server operating system market, up from 15.8 in 1998. IDC also states that Red Hat holds 50.2 percent of Linux vendor market share and that Red Hat Linux is by far the most popular distribution, preferred by 68.7 percent of U.S. Linux users.