Baltimore names new CEO

By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2001-10-10

After nearly three months without permanent leadership, security vendor Baltimore Technologies Plc. on Wednesday appointed board member Bijan Khezri as CEO.

The Dublin, Ireland, company also announced that Paul Sanders, chief financial officer and acting CEO since July, has resigned effective immediately.

Khezri, who has been a member of Baltimores board off and on since 1998, has a strong background in information security. Most recently, he co-founded a PKI vendor in Britain called DespatchBox Ltd., which develops applications for secure communications and data sharing. Khezri previously served on the board of directors of VPNet Technologies Inc., a network security company that is now a part of Avaya Corp.

Khezri has a difficult task ahead of him in trying to reverse Baltimores fortunes. The company--best known for its PKI and access-management applications--was once the rising star of the security industry, acquiring numerous companies and growing quickly under the aggressive leadership of then-CEO Fran Rooney.

But when the technology sector soured early this year, the company was caught unawares and Baltimore officials soon realized that they were overextended and overstaffed.

Rooney tried to right the ship this spring, refocusing the company on managed security services and its core PKI products and laying off 250 workers. But the changes were not enough and Rooney resigned in July, leaving Sanders to continue the turnaround effort.

Sanders announced a sweeping restructuring plan in late August, which included reorganizing the sales staff, another 220 layoffs and the sale of its content-security division.

Now Khezri must see the reorganization through, a task that he says he is glad to take on.

"Our restructuring program … is under way. We are fully committed to it. Its completion should provide the company with the necessary resources to take it into the next growth phase."

Sanders, meanwhile, joined Baltimore in December to guide it through its acquisition phase, a job that no longer exists. After helping the company through the transition between CEOs, Sanders "feels that the time is right to move on," according to a Baltimore statement.

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