Novell Loses Another Open-Source Aficionado

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-05-09 Print this article Print

Richard Seibt, the former president of SuSE Linux before its acquisition, leaves his post as president of Novell EMEA. A spokesman says his departure does not relate to two other recent executive resignations.

As a raft of senior executives leave Novell to pursue other interests, the company is reiterating its commitment to embracing Linux across its entire product line. That response follows news that Richard Seibt, the former president of SuSE Linux AG, which Novell Inc. acquired in early 2004, has resigned from his current position as president of Novell EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). But Seibts resignation brings to three the number of senior executives that have left the Waltham, Mass., company in recent months, and interestingly, all three were players in the companys decision to embrace Linux and open source across its products and service lines.
In a short statement posted to its Web site Monday, Novell confirmed Seibts resignation and said his duties would be assumed by Ron Hovsepian, the companys president of worldwide field operations, until a replacement is found.
Seibt could not be reached for comment. Novell chairman and CEO Jack Messman said in a statement that he would "like to thank Richard for his contributions to Novell, especially in the transition and integration of the SuSE Linux business. We wish him well in his future endeavors." Sources close to the company told eWEEK that Seibt had become increasingly unhappy and disillusioned at Novell after its acquisition of SuSE Linux and even more so after the departures of vice chairman Chris Stone last November and of chief technology officer Alan Nugent this March, both of whom were pivotal players in the companys decision to embrace Linux and open source across all of its products and services. "Novell seems to be ridding itself of all SuSE DNA," one source told eWEEK. But while Novell spokesman Kevan Barney declined to specifically comment on that, he did affirm the companys commitment to Linux and open source, "which remains very much our future." Asked if there was any relationship between the three executive resignations, Barney said there was not and that this "is the way things happen in business." Bruce Lowry, another Novell spokesman, who is based in San Francisco, also pointed out that Seibt had "moved out of a SuSE Linux line role the day of the acquisition." "The guy who was running the SuSE Linux engineering and product group, Markus Rex, is still there," Lowry said. "Seibt was president of Novell EMEA, running the sales and consulting organization for that region." Next Page: Weakening Novells open-source commitment?

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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