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Kumar departs from embattled CA

The executive, who recently resigned from the top posts at the software maker, said Friday he is leaving the company completely as investigations continue into its accounting practices.

Sanjay Kumar, who recently resigned from the top posts at Computer Associates International, said Friday he is leaving the company completely as investigations continue into its accounting practices.

Kumar in April stepped down as chairman and chief executive, after two years of internal reviews of Computer Associates' financial reporting process. At the time, Kumar said he would resign from CA's board and take on the newly created position of chief software architect. Kumar's transition, the company said, did not constitute an admission that the executive played a role in any wrongdoing.

But as of Friday, Kumar has ceased all involvement with Islandia, N.Y.-based maker of business management software, the company said.

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Computer Associates' Sanjay Kumar on the difficulty of managing customer and vendor perceptions.
It had become increasingly clear, Kumar said in a statement Friday, that his continued role at Computer Associates was not helping the company's efforts to move forward.

"I understood that my stepping down as chairman and CEO represented a break with the past," he said. "But I have reluctantly concluded that as long as I hold any position, focus on past issues and my current role will continue."

Kumar's departure comes only a few weeks after he publicly stated his plans to continue working as CA?s chief software architect, with the new management's blessing. At the company's last month, Kumar said that he intended to spend about half of his time working with clients to define CA?s technology direction.

After he left the company's top positions, Kumar was replaced by Kenneth Cron, now interim CEO, and Lewis Ranieri, the new board chairman.

"I care so deeply about this place...My job is to make Ken and Louis and the rest of the management incredibly successful," Kumar said at the conference.

Like Tyco, Enron and other companies that have captured headlines for financial irregularities, Computer Associates has hired outside directors to augment oversight of corporate governance.

In addition to conducting its own investigation, Computer Associates has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of engaging in a "widespread" practice of improperly recognizing revenue during 2000, an accounting move that helped boost the price of the company's stock and meet analysts' revenue expectations. Compensation of top executives, including Kumar, was tied to stock performance.

Kumar himself has not faced any indictments regarding the inquiry. Other high-level executives, including the company's former chief financial officer, have pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

In the wake of Kumar's departure, Ranieri pledged to take "remedial steps" necessary to put the matter in the past and said the former CEO's decision to leave the company was made in that spirit.

Computer Associates said it continues to comply with inquiries from the SEC and the U.S. Attorney's Office and did not set a time frame for resolution of those investigations.

CNET Martin LaMonica contributed to this report.