RealTime IT News

Seibt Leaves Novell

Richard Seibt, Novell's go-to guy in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, announced his resignation Monday, a week after the company shuffled management for its worldwide operations.

Seibt, EMEA president since February 2004, came onboard after Novell announced its intent to acquire Germany-based SUSE Linux in late 2003 for $210 million.

Richard Seibt
Richard Seibt
Source: Novell

"I would like to thank Richard for his contributions to Novell, especially in the transition and integration of the SUSE Linux business," said Jack Messman, Novell chairman and CEO. "We wish him well in his future endeavors."

Bruce Lowry, a Novell spokesman, said Seibt's resignation was a personal decision made by the former executive.

Taking his place is Ron Hovsepian, who was only last week named Novell's president of worldwide field operations. In a statement at the time, officials said Hovsepian's promotion from president of the North America region was done, in part, to align the company's resources and streamline field operations.

Hovsepian has been helming a transition of the North America region's sales and consulting teams the past year, which is expected to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2005. A similar reorganization in the EMEA region began in the first quarter of this year and is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months.

Novell has experienced a fair amount of executive turnover in recent months. In November 2004 Chris Stone, Novell's vice chairman of the office of the CEO, left the company to "pursue other professional opportunities." Stone was instrumental in Novell's bid to acquire SUSE Linux.

Earlier this year, Novell CTO Alan Nugent left the company to take a job in Computer Associates' enterprise systems management unit.

George Weiss, a vice president and distinguished analyst at research firm Gartner, said he's concerned the departures are beginning to look like a cascading effect.

"[It's] not something one would expect from a company who is embarking on potentially new and exciting opportunities and with former highly esteemed executives who had major roles to play in re-positioning Novell," he said.

Besides his role in increasing Novell's market presence in the EMEA region, Seibt was hired to play a key role integrating SUSE Linux into the Novell product line. Nearly a year later, results were mixed.

In its latest financial report, Novell officials blamed a flat economy and constrained IT budgets in Europe for a general weakness across most of the company's product line in the EMEA regions.

In the first quarter of 2005, Novell reported a 10 percent revenue drop from the same quarter last year, primarily due to a 12 percent drop in resource management and 18 percent drop in NetWare revenues.

Overall, however, the company experienced a net gain of 9 percent in segment revenues in the EMEA region because of favorable foreign currency rates and revenues from the 2004 acquisition of U.K.-based IT consulting firm Salmon, as well as SUSE Linux.

SUSE brought in $5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2005 to Novell's Linux and platform services arm in the region, selling about 12,400 copies of SUSE Enterprise Linux Server 9.