Former Computer Associates International chairman and chief executive officer Sanjay Kumar made a surprise appearance at the Etre technology conference in Cannes, three weeks after his indictment for securities fraud and obstruction of justice.
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Kumar, who allegedly took part in a fraudulent accounting scheme that cost CA investors hundreds of millions of dollars, talked about exciting opportunities that exist in the technology industry, despite the troubles that have recently clouded his own career.
Although he did not comment directly on his indictment, he described his departure from CA earlier this year, after 17 years with the company, as the start of a new chapter in his life.
"There are still tremendously exciting things to do. I'm focused on building new technology companies today," Kumar told the audience of tech industry executives, startups and venture capitalists.
Asked pointedly about mistakes he made in his own career, Kumar replied somewhat vaguely that "you need to stick to your principals, your convictions".
"Part of being at the top of the pile is making decisions, and you surround yourself with people smarter than you to help you," Kumar said. "One of my biggest mistakes was forgetting that there is a core group of people who will stick with you through thick and thin. Most people come and go."
Kumar suggested that he hopes to mentor young technology companies, saying that developing new ideas is key since investment is not a problem in the industry.
New customer demands, as well as new technologies such as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), are changing the industry, he said, creating new opportunities.
After leaving CA, Kumar said he is now embarking on a new venture, heading up a new company called OnDemand Partners, which will invest in a help young IT companies and technologies.
Kumar was indicted on 17 September by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, New York, for his part in the CA scandal, along with Stephen Richards, CA's former head of worldwide sales. Both men pleaded not guilty. CA's former general counsel and senior vice-president, Stephen Woghin, pleaded guilty to similar charges.
Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service