Beleaguered database supplier Informix appointed a new chief executive on the eve of its annual user group on Tuesday, sidelining current boss Phil White to the role of chairman of the board.
Former 3Com president Robert Finocchio takes over as chief executive and president, charged with turning round the fortunes of the former star, which last quarter reported losses of $180 million.
In a prepared statement on Tuesday, White emphasised that he would be working with Finocchio. "Together we will set the company?s strategy, enabling me to focus on ensuring that Informix has the right relationships and partnerships to carry out that strategy," he said. But Finocchio appeared to have no doubt about where the power lies. "I am looking forward to leading Informix," he said.
Finocchio?s career began at Bank of America in the mid-1970s. He joined 3Com in 1988 as vice president of sales and marketing. He was in charge of handling 10 acquisitions made by 3Com, resigning from the company in April following its merger with US Robotics.
Speculation that there were top level management changes afoot at Informix has circulated for the past few days, but most industry commentators expected the appointment of a chief operating officer to work alongside White. Few expected that he would relinquish the CEO?s position.
Attention will now focus on Finocchio?s plans to overhaul the company. He is likely to pay particular attention to its current sales strategy and the controversial Informix Superstore scheme, which has already been radically scaled down. The Superstores are intended to allow customers to pilot Informix-based applications in a real world setting on a variety of hardware platforms.
The company will next week report its second quarter results. These were due to be released this week, but were postponed without explanation, prompting fears that they will be worse than expected.
The circumstances surrounding White?s departure remain unexplained. He had spoken earlier in the year of abdicating some of his responsibilities, possibly with the appointment of a company president. Although there were calls for his resignation at the Informix shareholders' meeting earlier this year, it was believed that he intended to hang on until the end of 1997 in a bid to turn around the company. But many believe Wall Street had lost faith in him following a meeting in New York last month, expediting his departure.
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