CA Taps IBM Executive as New CEO

Sources say Computer Associates has named IBM software executive John Swainson, who headed IBM's successful WebSphere unit for years, to run the company.

Computer Associates has tapped IBM software executive John Swainson to lead the company as its new chief executive, sources said.

The Islandia, N.Y., middleware software supplier has passed over interim CEO Ken Cron and has chosen Swainson, who headed IBMs successful WebSphere unit for years, to run the company, according to sources.

Neither IBM nor CA would confirm the news, but sources close to the situation said it was indeed true.

Tim Breuer, a spokesman for IBMs software group, said he could neither confirm nor deny the news regarding Swainson. "We dont comment on rumors," Breuer said.

Most recently, Swainson held the position of vice president of worldwide software sales at IBM, a post he had held since July.

Before assuming the role of top sales executive for IBM software, Swainson was general manager of the IBM software groups application and integration middleware division, where he helped nurture the companys WebSphere brand to grow into a leading infrastructure software provider.

In that role, Swainson was responsible for the development, marketing and sales of IBMs middleware products, including the WebSphere family of products, application development tools, MQSeries, communications products and transaction processing products such as CICS.

Swainson took on the WebSphere position in 1997 and held it until July 2004, when he was tapped to move into the sales slot vacated by Donn Atkins, who moved into the position as head of IBMs global business partner organization.

Before that, Swainson headed up the work on IBMs application development tools and was director of IBMs lab in Toronto.

Swainson championed the strategy of componentizing the WebSphere application server—a move seeing fruition in the WebSphere 6 release, code-named Vela.

CA in May named Kenneth Cron, a two-year CA board member, as interim CEO. Cron was the former CEO of Vivendi Universal Games, the interactive entertainment division of Vivendi Universal S.A. No stranger to the technology industry, he was also a longtime employee of CMP Media, serving as a board member and president of publishing until 1999.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here for more on interim CEO Kenneth Cron.

The top spot was cleared for Cron weeks earlier when CAs well-known CEO Sanjay Kumar stepped down and then later resigned from the company, which was being rocked by SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) investigations into its bookkeeping.

The companys own board of directors Audit Committee found last year that CA had recognized revenue in 2000 for software license contracts that had been signed in later quarters than had been reported to meet Wall Street revenue expectations.

Earlier this year, former CA chief financial officer Ira Zar, along with two of CAs other senior financial executives, David Rivard and David Kaplan, pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and obstruct justice.

Zar faces a maximum 20-year sentence, while Rivard and Kaplan each face a maximum 10-year sentence. Kumar himself was indicted in September on similar fraud charges as was CAs former head of worldwide sales Stephen Richards. Both pleaded not guilty.

CA officials had said they would announce a permanent replacement for Cron last week. Analysts say the companys choice for new leadership is vital to rebuilding its damaged reputation and improving a mostly poor track record for customer service.

Editors Note: Brian Fonseca and Chris Gonsalves provided additional reporting for this story.

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