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Computer Associates picks IBM veteran Swainson to take the helm

Cliff Saran

John Swainson, the leader of IBM's worldwide software sales group, has been appointed president and CEO-elect of Computer Associates.

After 26 years with IBM, Swainson, who built up the company's middleware business, will take charge at a company trying to shake free from accounting controversies that have brought investigations by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice.

In April CA's CEO, Sanjay Kumar, stepped down and in September he pleaded not guilty when charged with accounting fraud during CA's financial year 2000.

Kenneth Cron, who has led CA since being named interim CEO in April, will continue to lead the company during a four-to-six month transition period, Computer Associates said.

Gary Barnett, research director at Ovum IT, said Swainson would have to rebuild customer confidence in the aftermath of the financial investigations.

"Swainson needs to build on the innovation that has been at play within CA for the past two years", he said, and apply the same approach to marketing that propelled the Websphere brand to leadership.

CA has strong technology but needs to generate user demand, through strong marketing, with any resultant sales fueling further innovation, the analyst said.

Alongside the appointment of a new chief executive, CA has also postponed its next user and partner conference which was due to run in April 2005.

The company told users that it needed time to redefine the conference. In a letter sent out to customers, Joan Blackwood, CA's senior vice-president for marketing, said instead of running a single large conference in 2005, "We will increase the number of smaller events we hold throughout the year. The main CA-World conference will not run until spring 2006."

  • Last week CA completed its $439m (£232m) purchase of Netegrity, a provider of identity and access management software.

    CA said it would make Netegrity's identity and access management software available both as standalone products and as integrated components of CA's E-trust Identity and Access Management Suite.

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