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SuSE: Ready for Growth

Having successfully brought SuSE Linux through a restructuring over the past year, turn-around specialist Gerhard Burtscher stepped down as chairman of the executive board and CEO of the firm Monday, paving the way for Richard Seibt to take the reins as the company prepares for growth.

Burtscher took over SuSE in Dec. 2001, and set about rebuilding the business around a scalable infrastructure by aligning the company on indirect sales, increasing channel delivery partners, paring down product lines and increasing relationships with ISVs and IHVs. Burtscher then lead SuSE through the formation of the UnitedLinux initiative which brings together a number of leading Linux firms around a global, uniform Linux distribution designed for business.

Seibt, a 20-year alumnus of IBM, has most recently served as executive board member of Germany's United Internet, holding operational responsibility for several affiliates and the internationalization of United Internet and selected affiliates. He will be charged with leading the firm through a new phase of growth.

"SuSE Linux has made industrial history in the Linux market with innovative technologies and market-driven products," said Seibt. "SuSE has an excellent reputation with consumer and corporate customers, as well as ISVs and IHVs. SuSE has several key challenges in stepping up to the next level. First, to continue to push the international Linux standard, UnitedLinux. Second, to make use of the momentum in the market to extend with SuSE's partners our penetration in medium-sized and large-sized corporate customers. Third, according to the Open Source principle, to offer private users and enterprises an alternative to the continuously increasing license costs of proprietary operating systems and standard office applications."

Burtscher added, "I am pleased that we could reach our goals in a very short timeframe, even with the difficult macroeconomic climate today. We have created a solid foundation for SuSE's future growth. The new orientation of SuSE accommodates corporate users' as well as private users' demands. With its role as the product integrator of the UnitedLinux initiative, SuSE has the best requirements for stable global growth at is disposal."

Seibt will take the reins at SuSE on Jan. 20.