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Novell creates new management posts

Memo outlines converting four divisions into two, as company refocuses.

Novell, a new entrant into the Linux market, has promoted two executives in a management change that consolidates four business units into two.

As a result, several executives who once reported to Vice Chairman Chris Stone, the company's products chief, now report to the newly appointed general managers, David Patrick and David Litwack, spokesman Bruce Lowry confirmed Monday.

The moves reflect changes at Waltham, Mass.-based, Novell as it moves from its old business--selling the NetWare operating system--to selling Linux and higher-level server software packages. To make the move, Novell has acquired several companies, most recently SuSE Linux and Ximian.

Two of the previous four groups--SuSE Linux and server applications--now comprise the Linux, Open Source Platforms and Services unit, according to a Friday memo from Stone seen by CNET News.com. The other two previous groups--identity and directory software and resource management software--now comprise the Identity-based Solutions unit.

"These are both significant growth opportunities and markets where Novell already has substantial expertise and presence," the memo read. "In combination, these represent the core strategy of the company."

In charge of the Linux and applications group is Patrick, the chief executive of Linux desktop specialist Ximian until Novell bought the company in 2003 and more recently the head of Novell's resource management software group. Leading the identity software group is Litwack, once the CEO of the software company SilverStream, which Novell acquired, and most recently the leader of Novell's more limited identity software group.

The changes insert a new layer of management but reflect Novell's shifting software development and marketing priorities, Lowry said. "We're trying to reflect where we're going as a company, strategically and in go-to-market," he said.