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BEA lures Sun exec for marketing post

Marge Breya, former SVP of global sales at Sun Microsystems, will join the competitor as chief marketing officer.

Server software maker BEA Systems has hired Marge Breya from Sun Microsystems to become its new chief marketing officer, CNET has learned.

At Sun, Breya was senior vice president of marketing in global sales operations, but earlier she was a key leader of Sun's software business that competed directly against BEA's products: application server software, widely used products that let Java programs run on servers.

Photo: Sun
Marge Breya

Breya's new post was announced in a memo Monday to BEA employees and seen by CNET BEA declined to comment for this story but said it expected to announce new employees in coming days.

Sun confirmed Breya's new chief marketing officer post at BEA and added in a statement, "We wish Marge well in her new venture and look forward to continuing our relationship with her, in her new role as a partner and customer."

RedMonk analyst James Governor confirmed the hire and said it was a good move for BEA. "Marge is smart, focused and has a good track record. She's very pragmatic," he said.

Breya replaces Tod Nielsen, a former Microsoft executive who left BEA in August. In addition to hiring Breya, BEA promoted Jeff Ricci from vice president of finance to senior vice president of finance, a source familiar with the move said.

During the summer, BEA saw a string of executive departures, including former Chief Architect Adam Bosworth, Chief Technology Officer Scott Dietzen and several marketing and engineering personnel. The company has since brought on a new head of product development, Wai Wong, and has sought to stem declining revenue.

In the third quarter of this year, BEA exceeded financial expectations, reporting a 5 percent rise in revenue to $264 million and a 15 percent jump in net income to $33 million. However, its license revenue, a closely watched measure of its financial health, dropped almost $14 million, compared with the same quarter last year.

BEA's primary competitor is IBM. But the company also faces a host of open-source application servers from organizations including JBoss, the ObjectWeb Consortium and the Apache Software Foundation, and those versions are gaining in sophistication.

CNET's Martin LaMonica contributed to this report.