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Ron Hovsepian New CEO at Novell
Thursday, June 22 2006 @ 10:18 AM EDT

Here's the press release announcing Novell's new CEO Ron Hovsepian, who succeeds Jack Messman.

Novell's one-hour conference call with management this morning is available, they say, for telephone playback through midnight ET, June 30. The domestic toll-free replay number is 800-642-1687, and the international replay number is +1-706-645-9291. Replay listeners must enter conference ID number 2096270.

Bloomberg quotes Hovsepian as saying his "top priority" will be to speed up the company's switch to offering Linux open-source software.

Hovsepian sent an email to Novell customers today, in which he announced the changes (Joseph Tibbetts is also leaving) and added:

Our Board is grateful for Jack’s and Joe’s years of service and dedication. Their leadership was pivotal in helping to guide the company through a period of dramatic change in the industry. One of the many hallmarks of their tenure was spearheading the company’s shift to a Linux and open source-based strategy which placed Novell at the center of one of the most significant computing developments of the past decade....

I want to assure you that Novell will remain focused on aggressively executing our Open Enterprise strategy. This is an enterprise that leverages a mixed source environment and takes advantage of open standards-based commercial software and the best the open source world has to offer. We have already made an excellent start. We’re working with customers around the world that service multiple industries and institutions to ensure that our Open Enterprise strategy is customized to meet their needs.

Here's the meat of the press release:


Novell Names Ron Hovsepian To Succeed Jack Messman as CEO

Thomas G. Plaskett elected Chairman of the Board
Joseph Tibbetts to leave company; Dana Russell named interim CFO

WALTHAM, Mass.—22 Jun 2006—Novell, Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVL) today announced that its Board of Directors has elected President Ronald W. Hovsepian, 45, to the additional position of chief executive officer, effective immediately. Hovsepian, who also has been elected to the Board of Directors, has been president and chief operating officer since October 2005. The Company also announced that Thomas G. Plaskett, a director of Novell since November 2002, has been elected non-executive Chairman of the Novell Board.

Novell's Board of Directors has determined that former CEO Jack L. Messman, 66, and former CFO Joseph S. Tibbetts, Jr., 53, will leave Novell's employment, effective June 21. Mr. Messman will remain on Novell's Board of Directors until Oct. 31, 2006. Dana C. Russell, 44, Novell's current vice president of finance and corporate controller, has been appointed interim CFO while the company conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

Mr. Plaskett stated: "The Board concluded that a management change would be the best way to accelerate the execution of our growth strategy and build value for shareholders. Ron is the ideal choice to lead the company as we continue with our transition to Linux-based products and identity and resource management and leverage our unique support of mixed source environments. He is a talented and proven executive with deep knowledge and expertise in the infrastructure software business and the enterprise market. Following his 17 year career at IBM and other industry experiences, Ron has rapidly progressed through top positions at Novell over the past three years. He has played an integral role in developing the company's operating strategy and fully understands Novell's compelling growth opportunities. He has forged close relationships with key customers and is highly regarded by the Board and employees throughout our organization."

Hovsepian said: "I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to lead Novell and to aggressively execute our strategic plan. In recent months, we have adopted a comprehensive strategy, strengthened our portfolio through both acquisitions and organic growth, and divested the non-core Celerant business. Although we still have much to do, these steps have positioned us to take full advantage of recent trends towards a mixed source computing environment based on open source and open standards."

Hovsepian continued: "Going forward, we will maintain a sharp focus on meeting customer demand and delivering value through Linux-based, enterprise-wide solutions and identity and resource management products. We have innovative technology, a strong roster of customers and business partners and an extremely talented group of employees. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our business partners and customers."

Hovsepian concluded: "I am pleased that Dana Russell has agreed to assume the responsibilities of interim CFO. Over the past 12 years, Dana has gained experience in numerous parts of the business, including finance and tax, and he is an expert in our financial operations and controls."

Commenting on these changes, Plaskett stated: "The Board is grateful for Jack's and Joe's service to the company. Jack has been a director since the company's founding, and he and Joe helped lead Novell through a period of dramatic change in the software and information technology sectors. In particular, the company's decision under Jack's leadership to adopt an open source-based strategy put Novell at the center of one of the most significant computing developments in the last decade. We wish them further success in their future endeavors."

Biographical Information

Ron Hovsepian is president, chief executive officer and a member of the Board of Directors. He previously served as president and chief operating officer. In that role, he had direct worldwide responsibility for product development, marketing, and field operations, which includes sales, consulting and technical services. He joined Novell in June 2003 as president of North America, and has led the transformation of global field operations since May 2005. Previously, Hovsepian held management and executive positions at IBM Corporation over a 17 year period, including serving as worldwide general manager of IBM's distribution industries, where he managed global hardware and software development, sales, marketing and services. With stints in various sales and marketing positions prior to taking profit and loss responsibility at several IBM units, he has a proven track record of achieving revenue goals and profit growth in the IT solutions business. He also served as a managing director of Internet Capital Group, a venture capital firm. Hovsepian is currently non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ann Taylor Corporation. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston College.

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