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Manugistics chairman to step down next year

The software maker plans to bid farewell to William Gibson, who founded the company in 1986, at the end of its fiscal year in February.

Software maker Manugistics plans to bid farewell to its founder and board chairman early next year.

William Gibson, who founded the company in 1986, intends to retire at the end of the company's fiscal year, Feb. 28, 2001, Manugistics said Tuesday. At that time, chief executive officer Gregory Owens will succeed Gibson as chairman.

Manugistics, based in Rockville, Md., competes in the market for supply-chain management software against i2 Technologies and software giants including SAP and Oracle.

Despite the explosive demand for supply-chain software--applications that help automate and manage a company's inventory and product-demand cycles--Manugistics has been somewhat drowned out by the much noisier i2.

In recent months, Manugistics has experienced a much-needed revival, after suffering through the past two years from a sagging stock price, stiff market competition and internal problems with sales execution. Like the rest of its competitors, Manugistics has been focusing on the business-to-business industry, aiming to capture lucrative and complex online marketplace deals.

The company's shares, which had been languishing around $14 per share earlier this year, have recently been trading upward of $80, fueled by a string of positive quarterly results and the signing of a few big-name clients, including Net giant Amazon.com.

"I feel the time is right for me to relinquish the reins," Gibson said in a statement. "It has become increasingly obvious to me that we are meeting and surpassing all the goals we had in mind when we took the company public in 1993."

Gibson has served as chairman of the board since its formation in 1986. From 1986 until April of last year, he also served as the company's chief executive officer.