A shakeup could be in the works at struggling e-commerce software vendor Firepond Inc. after the company announced late Thursday that Chief Financial Officer Paul McDermott was stepping down.
McDermott is leaving to "pursue other opportunities," according to a company press release, though he is expected to stay on to see the company through an unspecified transition period.
Firepond, of Waltham, Mass., which makes assisted selling and customer service software, would appear to be an attractive takeover target, given that its stock is only trading at around 80 cents a share. One of its competitors in the assisted selling space, Calico Commerce Inc., announced the sale of its remaining technology and intellectual property assets to PeopleSoft Inc. for a paltry $5 million in cash Dec. 13.
The stepping down of a chief financial officer has preceded a takeover or broader executive shakeup at some companies. Adding credence to that theory, Firepond announced Friday that John Cachianes, a former IBM executive—including the one-time CFO of IBMs U.S. and Europe, Middle East, and Africa operations—had joined its board of directors.
Firepond CEO Klaus Besier said in a statement that Cachianes would bring "additional focus to our business fundamentals." Cachianes recently retired after 30 years at IBM and had been working as an independent consultant.
McDermott, CFO at Firepond for three years, guided the companys finances through its initial public offering in February 2000, its acquisition of Brightware Inc. in February 2001, and two restructurings in April and July that saw the company reduce its work force by 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
In its most recent quarter, ended Oct. 31, Firepond recorded revenues of $9.1 million, less than half the amount in the same quarter last year. It lost $13.7 million on that revenue. For the entire fiscal year ended Oct. 31, its revenue slipped nearly $16 million from the previous fiscal year, to $46.1 million, while its net loss climbed from $16.3 million to $70.3 million.