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Siebel replaces top sales exec

Richard Chiarello is set to become Siebel's senior vice president of worldwide sales as the software maker deals with long-running revenue challenges.

Siebel Systems said Monday that it has replaced its global head of sales.

Richard Chiarello will become Siebel's senior vice president of worldwide sales on Oct. 1, replacing interim sales chief Mark Hanson. Hanson, who will remain at Siebel, replaced William McDermott. The company did not say when he assumed McDermott's responsibilities.

Chiarello has held executive sales positions at IBM and Computer Associates International.

The executive shuffle comes at a time of declining revenue for the Siebel, a maker of customer relationship management (CRM) software.

A Siebel representative commented only on Chiarello's appointment and declined to comment on McDermott's status with the company or Hanson's new role. However, according to a Monday analyst report, McDermott, who joined the company in May 2001, was resigning from the company.

McDermott's departure as sales chief comes at a difficult time for Siebel. The company's revenue has suffered as customers worldwide have slashed their IT budgets.

"The departure of the head of sales (McDermott) in the last month of the quarter does not bode well for Siebel's (third-quarter) results," wrote JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens, adding that Siebel has seen declining license revenue in five of the past six quarters. "The departure corresponds with our channel checks, which suggest that Q3 is shaping up below Q2."

Siebel has been pinched particularly hard as more companies have begun to question the need for CRM applications. Last week, a survey of 225 CIOs by Morgan Stanley showed that 20 percent thought CRM was useful but not a priority at this time. Another 20 percent expressed uncertainty about the potential return on investment from using CRM, and 29 percent said they either didn't need that type of software or were skeptical about its value.