CA Board to Select Interim CEO

Computer Associates International Inc. is expected early next week to name board member Kenneth Cron as interim CEO.

Computer Associates International Inc. is expected early next week to name board member Kenneth Cron as interim CEO, according to sources close to CA.

Although not yet confirmed, sources said that CAs board of directors wants Cron to lead CA while the Islandia, N.Y., company searches for a permanent CEO to replace Sanjay Kumar, who stepped down Wednesday.

Cron, a two-year CA board member, is former CEO of Vivendi Universal Games, the interactive entertainment division of Vivendi Universal S.A.

Cron is no stranger to the technology industry. A long-time employee of CMP Media, Cron left the technology publishing company as president of publishing after it was sold to Miller Freeman Inc. in 1999. He was also a director on CMP Medias board.

He went on from there to lead Uproar Inc. as CEO and chairman, until it was acquired by Flipside Network in 2001. Flipside Network is a division of Vivendi Universal Games.

Crons independence and his experience are seen as a plus by some CA watchers.

"Hes not one of the old world CA executives. He has perceived strength and independence," said Gregg Moskowitz, senior research analyst at Susquehanna International Group LLP in New York.

But with the delay in CAs announcement of Crons appointment, it is possible that he may not accept the position, according to Rich Ptak, principal at Ptak, Noel & Associates in Amherst, N.H.

Cron faces an uncertain future leading CA amid the continuing investigations. Its still possible that the Department of Justice could press criminal charges against Kumar and the company itself.

And Kumars continued presence in the company—he was named chief software architect—is not necessarily seen as a positive development.

"We were a little concerned (the board) moved him to a different role and showed support for Sanjay. You have indicted executives; fired employees under his watch. We more expected them to remove him entirely," said Corey Ferengul, industry analyst with Meta Group Inc. in Chicago.

Cron also faces a depleted lineup of mid- and senior-level executives—with some 14 employees ousted so far—especially in accounting and sales management, as well as in the legal department.

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