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Software giant hires first COO in 24 years

For the first time in his company's 24-year history, the founder of SAS Institute will have a right-hand man to help him run his expanding business.

For the first time in his company's 24-year history, the founder of SAS Institute will have a right-hand man to help him run his expanding business.

SAS, the largest privately held software company, today named its first president and chief operating officer, as it plans to expand and go public.

The Cary, N.C.-based company said newly appointed COO Andre Boisvert will handle the company's day-to-day operations and manage the SAS software sales and development divisions. Jim Goodnight, SAS's co-founder and longtime leader, will remain chief executive and add the role of chairman to his responsibilities.

Before joining SAS, Boisvert worked as a venture capitalist for Southeast Interactive Technology fund and as a software consultant to Microsoft. He also spent time at Oracle as the database software giant's vice president of worldwide marketing and spent 13 years working at IBM.

Jim Goodnight As the already mammoth SAS has grown, business has become difficult for one person to manage, the 57-year-old Goodnight said, explaining what fueled his decision to create a No. 2 spot.

The company, which reported $1 billion in revenue last year, makes data warehousing software that extracts information from databases and allows companies to analyze the information and build reports. Microsoft, Oracle and other software giants also develop data warehousing tools.

In a conference call, Goodnight said the company will focus heavily on marketing and stick to its plans to go public in the next 12 to 18 months.

"I'm not leaving the company; I'm just moving up a bit," he said. "This is the first time in the past 24 years I get to get a new job. I'm looking forward to it."

Goodnight reiterated his commitment to reach revenue growth goals of $2 billion by 2003 and $3 billion by 2005.

In April, Goodnight promised employees he would take the company public and said he had been in talks with investment banker Goldman Sachs for four years, according to The Associated Press. At the time, he said that though SAS does not need the money, an initial public offering would bring attention to the company and help keep its employees happy.

Goodnight hired 46-year-old Boisvert just eight months ago to advise the company on strategic acquisitions, forming new partnerships and gearing up for an IPO.

The company also has named Greyson Quarles its executive vice president and chief administrative officer. Quarles, who joined SAS in 1982 as vice president of finance, will manage the human resources, finance and legal departments.

In addition, SAS appointed Jim Davis vice president of its worldwide marketing division. Davis, who joined the company in 1994 to be in charge of product strategy, will now head strategy development, business alliance development and marketing programs.