Today Novell announced that Ron Hovsepian is to succeed Jack Messman as CEO. So Novell - what took you so long! For months there has been pressure from stockholders to oust Mr. Messman because of failure of strategy to return Novell to growth.
The strategy to embrace Linux and Open Source seems sound, but there has been a lack of success at Novell. Last year Novell cut 10% of the work force (I was part of that) and kept promising that Novell would return to growth. However just last May Novell reported disappointing results that wiped more than a fifth from the company's share price.
In my opinion 66 year old Messman just lacked the energy and leadership to turn Novell around. I am excited about Ron Hovsepian, a former IBM executive, who is 45 years old. He has the sales background, enthusiasm, and excitement to really make a difference. If you've ever been to Brainshare and listened to Ho Hum Messman, you know what I'm talking about. Mr Hovsepian has the spark that is so much needed at Novell right now. Novell lost that spark when Chris Stone departed Novell back in November of 2005. Stone was instrumental in Novell's acquisition of two Linux companies, Ximian and SUSE Linux. Novell declined to comment on the reasons for Stone's departure. Back then Novell appeared to be finally making the right moves and Brainshare sessions were the most attended and upbeat I had seen in a long time. After Chris left, the energy left with him.
Now the question is can Novell take this new energy and execute? Novell customers are the most loyal and faithful customers around. But the customers are barely hanging on by a thread. Novell has lost so much credibility. The faithful are mostly the techies and not the decision makers. I know. I'm now a Novell faithful customer / techie, but the big M Migration is looming around the corner and I'm afraid it may be too late in my own IT world to stop it. I'm sure other Novell techie customers are feeling the same heat. Novell has the best technology, but Novell is becoming a non issue.
However, with Microsoft losing key execs, and Bill Gates announcing his departure in the very near future, and with the delay of MS Windows Vista, Novell has bought time with this new accouncement and may have found the spark to help generate new sales. Wall Street likes this move. I know the customers will like this move. C'mon Novell!! What took you so freakin long! We're cheering for you! Let's execute!!!