Changing of the Guard at BEA

BEA Systems Inc., the market leader in the highly competitive application server software market, announced this week that co-founder Bill Coleman is stepping down as CEO, giving way to co-founder Alfred Chuang.

Chuang has served as president and chief operating officer of the San Jose, Calif., software maker for the past two years. He and Coleman helped found BEA six years ago.

Coleman will stay on as chairman of the board of directors and chief strategy officer. He had been chief executive since the company launched in 1995.

BEA jumped into the lead of the application server market—estimated by Giga Information Group Inc. earlier this year at $3.5 billion—when it bought WebLogic Inc. in 1998. It currently holds a slight market share edge over such rivals as Oracle Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and IBM.

"We have been working toward this transition for the past couple of years," Coleman said in a prepared statement. "The time is right for Alfred to lead us through the next phase of the companys evolution."

"BEA is my passion," Chuang said. "Since we started BEA six years ago, Bill and I have focused on building the company for the long term."