Aspect CEO to Step Down

Gary Barnett, Aspect's executive vice president for products and CTO, will take over as president and CEO on an interim basis.

Contact center solutions developer Aspect Communications Corp. announced Monday that Beatriz Infante, its chairman, CEO and president, will leave the company by the end of the quarter, or Sept. 30.

No reason was given for the surprise announcement other than that she is leaving to "pursue other interests."

Gary Barnett, currently Aspects executive vice president for products and CTO, will take over as president and CEO on an interim basis, while San Jose, Calif.-based Aspect seeks a permanent replacement. A. Barry Rand, currently a director of the company, will take over as Aspects chairman.

The move comes just a week before Aspect is expected to announce a new product architecture and branding at the International Call Center Management show in Chicago, though company officials said Infantes stepping down was unrelated to any new product directions Aspect is pursuing.

At ICCM, Aspect is expected to introduce a new architecture for companies looking to add IP-based solutions to their call center environments, as well as an improved small-to-medium business contact center solution.

Infante joined Aspect in 1998 as co-president, after spending the previous five years as an executive at Oracle Corp.s application server division. She was promoted to chairman, CEO and president in 2000 after shaking up the executive ranks at the company, replacing at least 20 executives.

She was credited with turning the foundering company around with an increasing focus on software. But like much of the CRM software industry, Aspects revenues have steadily fallen, year-over-year, for at least the past six quarters,. In its most recent quarter, ended June 30, Aspect posted a $6.5 million profit on $89.4 million in revenues.

"[Infante] has guided the company through an incredibly difficult and uncertain economy over the last several years and has seen the company through many challenges," said Aspect director Norm Vogelsong in a statement. "We wish her much continued success as she pursues the next phase of her career."

Barnett was a founding engineer at Aspect, which was launched in 1985. Hes credited with playing a key role in the development of the companys first automatic call distributor and the porting of that technology to standard hardware systems. He left Aspect in 1987 to found Prospect Software, a developer of computer telephony integration software, then rejoined Aspect in 1996 when it bought Prospect.