Novell Loses Another Open-Source Aficionado

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."

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