Cognos Names New CEO on Heels of Strong Quarter

Software developer's current president and COO, Rob Ashe, to take position held by retiring Ron Zambonini; ReportNet fueled company's revenue, profit gains.

Renato "Ron" Zambonini will retire as CEO of business-intelligence software developer Cognos Inc. but will remain with the company as chairman of the board of directors, Cognos announced Thursday.

The company also announced an uptick in both revenues and profits for its fiscal fourth quarter, ended Feb. 29, as its new ReportNet enterprise-reporting software emerged as its best-selling product.

Zamboninis retirement as CEO takes effect June 23 at the companys shareholder meeting. He will be succeeded by Rob Ashe, Cognos current president and chief operating officer. Zambonini has been CEO of Cognos since September 1995 after doing his own stint as president and COO. He joined the Ottawa, Ontario-based company in 1989 as vice president of research and development.

During Zamboninis tenure, Cognos revenue increased fourfold as it transitioned from being a provider of application-development technologies to business-intelligence applications, then moved into the business performance management space. Cognos work force more than doubled in size in the process, and Zambonini also oversaw the companys largest acquisition, of Adaytum Inc., last year.

Ashe joined Cognos in 1984 and has held various executive positions in finance, operations, R&D and worldwide services over the past 20 years.

"Rob will be an excellent CEO," Zambonini said in a statement. "The outstanding leadership he has demonstrated—articulating our CPM vision, propelling Cognos ReportNet to market, developing a superb management team—has earned him the respect of our employees and customers alike, and uniquely equips him for his new role."

For the quarter, Cognos reported revenues of $202.1 million, up from $163.7 million in the same period last year. That included an increase in license revenues from $79.6 million to $93.5 million. ReportNet led the way, generating $30 million in license revenues, making it Cognos best-selling product in the quarter, according to chief financial officer Tom Manley.

"ReportNet continues to generate momentum for us," Manley said. "Its helping us penetrate new customer accounts as well as helping our existing customers to standardize on one platform."

Manley said 68 percent of ReportNets sales in the quarter were to existing Cognos customers, with 32 percent of the softwares sales to new customers.

Cognos reported net income for the quarter of $46.1 million, up from $29.6 million in the same period last year. The company was helped by a reduction in its tax rate from 25 percent to 16 percent because of tax credits it received from the Canadian government for previous R&D spending.

For the entire fiscal year, Cognos reported $683.1 million in revenues, up from $551 million the previous year. License revenue climbed year-to-year from $246.7 million to $286.1 million. Net income increased from $73.1 million to $100.9 million.

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