Novells Engineering Boss Departs Linux-Networking Company

Novell's Vice Chairman Chris Stone, responsible for engineering, product management and alliances, leaves the company to "pursue other interests."

Evidence of Novell Inc.s corporate culture clash surfaced on Thursday, as the company said Chris Stone, Novells vice chairman, would leave the company. Stone, who has been away from his post attending an executive management program at Harvard University since September, said he left the Waltham, Mass. company to "pursue other interests."

"It is with some regret that I have decided to leave Novell and pursue other professional opportunities. I am proud of my work and accomplishments at Novell, but now is the time in my career to do something else and I look forward to new challenges," Stone said in a statement released by Novell.

No successor has been named at yet for Stone, who was responsible for engineering, product management and alliances. His responsibilities will be overseen by Novell chairman and CEO Jack Messman on an interim basis.

Stone, who has been with Novell since March 2002, is credited with leading its strong drive into open-source software and identity management.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about Novells push into identity management solutions.

"We thank Chris for his service to Novell over the past two and one half years. He made significant contributions to changes in our strategic direction, and his vision and energy will be missed. We wish him well," Messman said in the statement.

While the public statements were cordial, sources close to the company told eWEEK that the breakup stemmed from management difficulties integrating the Linux teams Novell acquired earlier in the year. Sources said Stone was made to attend the management program at Harvard over executive displeasure at the way he [Stone] was managing some key personalities that moved across from Ximian and SUSE Linux, most notably Nat Friedman, now vice president of Novells Linux Technologies Group; Miguel de Icaza, now Novells chief technology officer; and Chris Schlaeger, now the vice president of Research and Development for SUSE Linux.

A Novell spokesman declined to comment on whether Stones management style was behind his sojourn to Harvard or his decision to leave the company.

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