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Sun Microsystems' Baratz resigns

Alan Baratz, president of Sun's recently formed Software Products and Platforms division, resigns to take a position as a managing director at a private equity capital firm.

Sun Microsystems today said its software unit president Alan Baratz has resigned.

Baratz, president of Sun's recently formed Software Products and Platforms division, plans to take a position as a managing director at a private equity capital firm, the company said in a statement.

The former head of Sun's Java software division took over his current role on July 1. Sun created the Software Products and Platform division to better compliment its Solaris software consumer and embedded and Java software groups with its alliance with America Online.

"It must have caught them by surprise," said Jim Garden, analyst with Technology Business Research. "It's unusual that Baratz would be leaving given he was just promoted." Garden characterized the departure as a blow to Sun.

"From what we feel, it's a lifestyle change," said John Jones, an analyst at Salomon Smith Barney. Jones said that Baratz seemed to want to move on from the constant traveling and heavy hours that accompanied his high level executive position and spend more time with family. Jones said that the news came as a "little bit of a surprise," but he also attributed Baratz's departure to the general movement in the technology field.

Sun said vice president of the Java Platform division, Jon Kannegaard, will assume Baratz's role as division president in the interim. An "aggressive" search for a replacement will begin immediately, the company said.

As unit president, Baratz was head of a group that included the Solaris, Java, Jini, and developer tools product lines as well as the computer network supplier's developer relations program. For the three years prior, he had been president of the Java Software division.

On September 1, Baratz, 44, will become the managing director at New York-based private equity firm E.M. Warburg Pincus, according to William Janeway, a Warburg spokesman.

Janeway, a friend of Baratz's, added that "conversations about this originally occurred before he even joined Sun," but his actual decision for a career change came very recently.

At Warburg, Baratz will also become a member of the firm's $1 billion information technology team, which is responsible for strategic investments in several IT companies, including BEA Systems, Covad Communications, and Level One Communications, the company said.

Baratz will remain at Sun through mid-August, according to Sun.

"Every situation creates some challenges, but Sun has some very strong senior level executives, so we don't see it being a huge impediment to the results that Java can drive for Sun in the next few years," said Salomon's Jones.

News.com's Joe Wilcox contributed to this report.