Report Describes Culture of Fear at CA

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2007-04-23 Print this article Print

The Special Litigation Report that recommended that the company sue retired Chairman Charles Wang for $500 million in restitution describes a "culture of fear" under his leadership.

The Special Litigation Report released on Feb. 13 was scathing in its description of the way CA was run under Charles Wangs guidance. In the report, the SLC described a "culture of fear" cultivated among employees, a startling lack of internal finance and audit controls given the size of the company and a "profound failure of leadership." Although several former employees contacted by eWEEK, who did not want to be named, confirmed such a culture, not everyone agreed with that assessment.
Click here to read about the debate over whether CA should sue retired Chairman Charles Wang.
"During my nine years at CA in engineering and the executive suite, I never experienced a culture of fear, and certainly nearly all the engineering strategy and marketing meetings were attended by Charles," commented Marc Sokol, partner at JK&B Capital in Chicago. But what the SLC report didnt address was perhaps another legacy that Wang left when he exited the company: poor customer satisfaction. "Years ago (in the early 90s) when you talked with a group of CIOs, you mention CA and the whole room would hiss," commented Judith Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz & Associates, a Waltham, Mass., consulting company. But that was the early 90s, and CA, under the direction of former CEO Sanjay Kumar, embarked on a program to improve customer service and earn the trust of customers to become a strategic software provider. Some industry watchers believe that a potential lawsuit against Wang could have the effect of further distancing CA from that past. Click here to read about former CA CEO Sanjay Kumar receiving a 12-year sentence after he was convicted of securities fraud and obstruction of justice. "It says, the company you came to know and hate is not the company here to serve you today," remarked Rick Sturm, president of Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo. To be fair, not all customers held such a dim view of CA. "The whole thing just makes us really sad, because Charles built it from nothing. We had a long relationship with him. We love their products. Charles moved that company forward by technical innovation and by the strength of his character," said Sorrel Jakins, chief engineer in the Office of Information Technology Engineering at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah. Under CEO John Swainson, CA is making further progress to transform itself into being a "customer- and technology-centered company," according to Donna Scott, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "Were hearing (from CA customers) that they are more satisfied and getting more from their relationship with CA," she added. Still, there are some customers who felt burned by CA years ago who continue to avoid doing business with CA. "If the products deliver value and people feel theyre being treated fairly, they have shorter memories. If not, the memories get longer," remarked Hurwitz. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel