BEA Loses Chief Technology Officer

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-08-04

BEA Loses Chief Technology Officer

BEA Systems Inc. has suffered its second major loss in two weeks, as its chief technology officer has decided to leave the company.

Scott Dietzen, BEAs CTO, will be leaving the company to pursue interests in the consulting business.

Dietzens departure comes as part of a one-two punch that could harm the companys progress on its SOA (service-oriented architecture) strategy, known as Liquid Computing. The first blow came when senior vice president and chief architect Adam Bosworth left the company at the end of July to move to Google.

Read more here about Bosworths departure.

At JavaOne in San Francisco in June, Dietzen gave a keynote on SOAs and spoke of Javas role as a dominant architecture for business applications. Dietzen also laid out the strengths of BEAs Liquid Computing initiative as being a leading platform candidate for enterprises looking to build SOAs.

Meanwhile, news of Dietzens imminent departure was abuzz among a handful of developers during last weeks Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting in Redmond, Wash.

One analyst at the Microsoft event, asked whether the prospect of losing two of its top technical minds would impact BEAs progress, said: "I dont know that it will have any significant impact on current sales of the BEA application server, but should Dietzen leave in addition to Bosworth having just left, it would no doubt impact unfinished projects."

Click here to read more about BEAs application server.

Anne Thomas Manes, an analyst with the Burton Group, put it more bluntly. "BEA is in a world of hurt," she said.

John Rymer, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., called Dietzens departure alongside Bosworths "a huge blow."

Next Page: CEO Alfred Chuang will take over as head of the Product Leadership Team.

Chuang to Head Product

Leadership"> In a memo to his staff, BEA chief executive Alfred Chuang wrote, "Scott Dietzen has decided to take a well-deserved break and move on after seven years of helping us promote WebLogics brand as the industrys most significant Web application software.

"Scotts done everything Ive asked him to do during his tenure, and deserves all of our thanks for his contributions. Please join me in wishing Scott well, and I am totally confident that we will see him on the front pages of industry publications in the years to come," Chuang said.

Meanwhile, Mark Carges, who was most recently head of global sales at BEA, will assume the role of CTO, Chuang said. And Chuang himself "will assume the role of the head of the PLT [Product Leadership Team]," he wrote.

With Bosworth and now Dietzen exiting BEA, speculation is rampant as to whether more defections will follow. Observers wonder whether Tod Nielsen, the companys chief marketing officer and a former colleague of Bosworths at Microsoft, will be next to defect. Rick Jackson, a vice president of marketing under Nielsen, recently took his talents to Borland Software Corp.

To read an interview with Bosworth before his departure from BEA, click here.

BEA would not comment on Nielsen or other officials tenure. But in his memo, Chuang said he has created a Worldwide Field Organization to be headed by Tom Ashburn.

"Charlie Ill, executive vice president of worldwide sales, and Tod Nielsen, chief marketing officer, will report to Tom [Ashburn]," Chuang wrote. "This Worldwide Field Organization will include our sales, services and marketing organizations," he added.

Thomas Murphy, an analyst with The META Group Inc., said its important that the company shows stability. "The overall churn to BEA management comes at a bad time," he said. "Scott had a good connection with the community and passion for his product.

"They still have lots of smart people, plenty of cash, etc. But as I say, they have to show stability and that key projects will be able to carry forward consistently," Murphy said.

Added Forresters Rymer: "Dietzens departure is part of a larger change at BEA. The choice of his replacement—Mark Carges—is a key signal of the companys priorities. Carges is a doer with long experience in mission-critical platforms and applications. Dietzen is more of a visionary.

"Dietzen and Bosworth are about creating new value, not about fixing operations that BEA itself admits are broken," Rymer said. "BEA has never operated in this mode before. It has always been a growth company. It is a huge change, and I expect other growth-oriented people to leave the company because either they arent interested in fix-it work or dont see an opportunity within BEA to build cool new stuff."

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