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Shift in top ranks of Lotus

One-half of Lotus's presidency has decided that having half a president is about as good as having one.

One-half of Lotus's presidency has decided that having half a president is about as good as having one.

Lotus Development's Jeff Papows will take over Michael D. Zisman's duties as the software developer's co-president. Zisman, who steps down today, will remain with the company as its executive vice president for strategy.

Zisman has shared the president job with Papows since the latter joined the IBM (IBM) subsidiary a year ago.

Despite the management changes, Lotus will continue to operate independently of Big Blue, and Papows will still report to John M. Thompson, vice president and group executive of IBM's software group. Zisman will report to Papows, the company said.

Zisman--the founder of Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Soft-Switch, a maker of switching tools for companies deploying a mosaic of messaging engines--joined Lotus in 1994 after it acquired his company. Yet he spent much of his time away from the new corporate headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, since his wife, Cindy, was diagnosed with cancer in June.

While Zisman will continue to work closely on strategy with Papows, who handles operations, he has foregone plans to move his family from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts to devote more time to his children. He will also be more involved in consulting with customers as well as making public appearances for Lotus, which makes the popular Notes groupware product.

Papows came to Lotus in 1993 from the Canadian client-server software maker Cognos, where he served as president and chief operating officer.

Lotus also said it has promoted Deborah Besemer to executive vice president of worldwide field operations in charge of sales, services, and business partner operations. The ten-year Lotus veteran will report to Papows, the company states.