John Chen, currently Sybase's president, will add CEO to his title, sharing responsibility for all company strategy and operations with incumbent CEO and chairman Mitchell Kertzman.
Kertzman eventually will drop the co-CEO title to become a more active executive chairman.
In the meantime, Kertzman said, "This gives us a tremendous competitive asset, because it will allow us to have two CEOs in two places at once. My focus will be spreading the word, and John?s focus will be to align the resources of Sybase."
Kertzman said they decided to share the role temporarily because, for now, it is the most effective structure. "But someday it will expire," he added.
The move comes on the heels of the company?s previous announcement, reported by CNET's NEWS.COM, that it would lay off 600 employees. The company added today, however, that the layoffs will result in a one-time $70 million restructuring charge against its first-quarter earnings.
The shakeup, rumored earlier this week, follows the $25 million-plus loss for Sybase's recently complete fourth quarter, reported in late January. The staff cuts and charge are direct results of that loss, and Kertzman said today that $40 million of the charge will come from the company?s cash reserves.
"We always planned John?s transition to CEO and my transition to an active executive chairman. This is part of that plan," Kertzman said during a conference call. "We have been working as peers, I have been focusing externally, and John will be focusing internally. I will project Sybase into the external world, to analysts, the press, and customers. John will have all management reporting to him, and we overlap on the direction of the company."
Sybase's recent troubles signal a change in customer needs, said Kertzman.
"Customers don't buy just databases anymore...they need more than just the technology, they need solutions," he said. "Databases are still a big part, but just not the only part. We don't think there is a database market anymore. It is much more diversified to include services and solutions."
In other executive moves at the company, Jack Acosta, current senior vice president and chief financial officer, has been promoted to executive vice president, reporting to Chen. Also, Sybase hired industry veteran Michael Gardner as senior vice president of worldwide sales.
The company also announced a $25 million stock repurchase plan that will be exercised over time.
(Mitchell Kertzman is a member of CNET: The Computer Network's board of directors.)