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Artisoft shares slide on CEO departure

Artisoft Inc. (Nasdaq: ASFT) shares fell 3 1/2, or 17 percent, to 17 1/8 Monday after CEO Paul Thomas announced he will leave the company to become president and chief operating officer of a private Linux company in California.

Thomas' resignation will take effect March 1.

Thomas will continue as a member of the Artisoft board of directors to assist in the search for, and transition of his replacement.

"My decision to leave Artisoft has been a very difficult one for me," Thomas said in press release. "I have no doubts that Artisoft will maintain its successful momentum in the years ahead and continue to be an industry leader. I look forward to working with the talented management team as we ensure a seamless transition."

In its second quarter, Artisoft earned $111,000, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $6.7 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 24 3/16 in January after falling to a low of 2 1/2 in April.>