Michael Doyle has left hosted CRM application services provider Salesnet Inc. after more than four years as the companys CEO and chairman.
Though Salesnet did not respond to inquiries about Doyles status, Doyle, reached on his cell phone Tuesday, confirmed that he submitted his resignation, effective earlier this month, to Salesnets board of directors after accepting a position as CEO of a company in the health care technology space. He did not disclose the name of the company.
Before joining Salesnet in March 2000, Doyle was a co-founder of the Standish Care Company, a provider of assisted living and long-term care services. He helped take Standish public in 1992, the first IPO of an assisted living services company. Four years later, he guided Standish through a merger with CareMatrix Corp.
“I built a very large health care organization before I came to Salesnet, so now Im going to a company thats a combination of both health care and technology,” said Doyle. “I brought [Salesnet] to a level that puts us in good shape,” he said, noting that he parted with Salesnet on “very good terms.”
Boston-based Salesnet, founded in 1997, claims to be the first company to offer CRM (customer relationship management) applications as a hosted service. Through March of this year, it had raised $30 million in venture capital funding. But the company has been dwarfed in size and marketing by Salesforce.com Inc., which became the first hosted CRM application services provider to go public in June.
Last week, Salesforce.com announced that it had taken a 1,500-seat deal for sales contract management with office supply retailer Staples Inc. away from Salesnet, which had counted Staples as one of its largest customers for the previous four years.
“They had an IBM platform and Salesforce.com conforms to that; [Salesnet] didnt,” said Doyle. “Were a Microsoft platform.”
But Doyle said losing Staples to Salesforce.com did not deal a crippling blow to Salesnets business.
“Absolutely, were on plan,” he said of his now former employer. “Our investors are enthused about what were doing.”
Over the past year, Salesnet has embarked on a number of new initiatives designed to help it compete better with Salesforce.com, Siebel and other companies, including vertical-specific versions of its service, an OEM channel to allow other software companies to embed Salesnet services in their applications, and a VAR channel to allow other ASPs to host Salesnet services.
“Its difficult to compete with someone that raises $260 million, so weve had to do some different things,” said Doyle. “But [Salesnets] still a good company thats created what I still believe is the best technology on the market.”
Doyle could never match Salesforce.coms high-profile CEO Marc Benioff for showmanship, though he did make headlines in June 2003, when Benioff attempted to forcibly remove him from a Salesforce.com launch event in New York that Doyle had mistakenly been invited to by Salesforce.coms events staff.
Salesnet officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Doyles departure or replacement. Doyle said he expects the company will formally announce his resignation in early December.