Red Hat CFO Resigns Prior to Earnings Report

The Linux company's chief financial officer resigns, citing personal reasons, just days before the company reveals its quarterly reports-prompting its stock to drop by 9 percent.

Linux vendor Red Hat is saying it will reveal better-than-expected results on its earnings call Thursday, but the unexpected resignation of its chief financial officer, Kevin Thompson, has given the companys stock a kick in the teeth.

Red Hat shares retreated 9.22 percent in the markets, a drop of $2.24 per share, on extremely heavy volume.

The company stated that Thompson is resigning for personal reasons and wants to spend more time with his family.

Prior to coming to Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat Inc., Thompson had been a partner in the Global Technology Industry Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he directed stock offerings and oversaw mergers and acquisitions at public and private technology companies. Before that, he was a senior manager at Arthur Andersen LLP for 10 years.

The market ignored Red Hats prediction that it would see a net income of more than $10 million, or 5 cents a share, for its first quarter, which ended in May. A year ago, the Linux company showed a profit of only $1.5 million.

Some Linux fans have turned against Red Hat in recent months with the fast growth of the company and its abandonment of its Red Hat operating-system line in favor of its corporate Linux line.

The move was designed to push customers to migrate to Red Hats Enterprise Linux line of products, which carry an annual subscription fee.

The move, though contested, has been successful. In the last quarter, Red Hat reported that sales of subscriptions for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) increased by 87,000 during the quarter, while renewal rates remained at about 90 percent.

This quarter, Red Hat is indicating that it sold 98,000 subscriptions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, up 13 percent from the last quarter.


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