Page Two

By Dennis Callaghan  |  Posted 2005-04-13 Print this article Print

Siebel stressed that Shaheens appointment as CEO was not an interim position. "George has stepped up to leadership to deliver consistent performance and improve the results of the company in the short term, medium term and long term," Siebel said.
Shaheen, however, gave few specifics on how he would do that.
"Well keep improving and delivering on the promise of value to our customers and the marketplace," he said. "We need to size our infrastructure and related costs to our business and continue to ensure that our product development strategy is aligned to the ever-changing needs of our customers." In fact, Shaheen restated many tenets that Lawrie frequently stated, especially that Siebels success was tied to its customers success, that the company was well-positioned to compete in the $100 billion market for customer-facing applications, and that the company wouldnt ship software until it was ready to ship. "I believe that the key role I have going forward is to deliver on the promise of customer value," he said. "If we do that and make the customer feel like theyre getting value on products and services, that is the best fuel for performance results." Customers responded well to Lawries attempts to make over Siebel. Click here to read more. Shaheen gave few specifics on what he would do differently from Lawrie to deliver those results. Some analysts on the call grew impatient with Shaheen and pointed out to him that the companys stock price had steadily dropped since the call began. "In the future, were going to pay a lot of attention to operating performance, but Im not going to comment on what happened or didnt happen in past," Shaheen said. He also gave no specifics on what Siebel would do with its $2.2 billion cash horde, beyond saying that the cash was a "real asset" and that the company had "many options." "As it relates to the utilization of our cash position, thats a board-level decision," Shaheen said. Shaheen did mention during the call that Siebel had to increase its license revenue. Lawrie had often seemed more concerned with increasing the companys services revenues, though Siebel said he wasnt aware of any "disagreements" in strategy Lawrie had had with the Siebel board. "Were in a very strong position with our products and in customer loyalty and support, its not like weve fallen off the charts," Shaheen said. "I just think we can do better. Thats what we intend to do." He again, however, gave little guidance on what he might do differently than Lawrie. "I can only speak for my own abilities and how I intend to approach things," he said. "I have stayed close to the tech community through various board positions; I probably have gotten closer to Siebel because Ive had the time to do it. I understand the business and the company, I understand what its going to take to do a better job and Im going to go after it aggressively. Im confident in my ability, so well see what happens." Marc Benioff, CEO of Siebel rival Inc., predicted last August that Lawrie would not be able to turn Siebel around, though at the same time he said he had great respect for Lawries abilities as an executive. But the problems with Siebels business model were too intractable for Lawrie to solve, Benioff said at the time. Wednesday, he stuck to that line. "I dont think there is a tougher job in this business right now than trying to turn that company into a success," Benioff said in San Francisco. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about customer relationship management solutions.


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