Novell's president and chief operating officer, Joe Marengi, will stay on at the company, despite speculation that he would leave once new chief executive Eric Schmidt is installed. The three men at the helm of Novell are expected to give each other a firm vote of confidence once Schmidt starts work on 7 April.
Schmidt said Marengi and former chairman John Young were factors in his decision to take the job. Hoping to end speculation that Marengi will leave after he was bought in, Schmidt said: "Joe will advise me. I have weaknesses where he has strengths." Marengi praised Schmidt and pledged: "He was my first choice as CEO. We are different; he will be Batman and I will be Robin."
Although Marengi will report to Schmidt and Young will become vice chairman, Schmidt hinted that all three will work together to improve Novell's weak marketing and capitalise on its strong customer and reseller base. Marengi said his incoming boss will decide on responsibilities. "We haven't announced who does what - we will when Eric joins," Marengi said.
Sources expect Marengi to be given responsibility for marketing in return for losing some roles to Schmidt. But both were quick to praise each other and claim they are happy with their positions and the arrangements made for Schmidt's appointment.
Schmidt offered few clues about what he plans to do with Novell, a company accused of lacking direction, though he admitted the company needs to improve its external communication. He said Novell has already made the right decision to move its business to concentrate on the Web, Internet, Intranets and Java. "Then you need significant field expertise and partners to help and we have them, but nobody knows this. It's my job to fix that."
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