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BEA loses top sales executive

In yet another management shift, former IBMer Charles Ill resigns and BEA gives Tom Ashburn direct responsibility for sales.

In the latest of several management shake-ups, BEA Systems announced the resignation of top sales executive Charles Ill and passed direct responsibility of sales to Tom Ashburn, president of BEA's field organization.

On Wednesday, the infrastructure software company said Ashburn will take over the sales operation from Ill, who was the company's executive vice president of worldwide sales. Ashburn, who worked for 33 years at Hewlett-Packard, was promoted in August to head up a group that oversees worldwide sales, marketing and support at BEA.

Photo: BEA
Tom Ashburn

Earlier this week, BEA announced that it hired a new marketing chief, Marge Breya, a former marketing executive at Sun Microsystems. It also hired Tibco Software veteran Dick O'Donnell as vice president of corporate marketing.

BEA said Ill's resignation was by mutual agreement.

"Giving (Ashburn) direct responsibility for the sales force will help allow him to tightly integrate marketing and services efforts with our sales activities," BEA CEO Alfred Chuang said in a statement.

The departure of Ill, who joined BEA last January after 24 years at IBM, has been expected for some time. Over the summer, BEA underwent a string of executive changes, including the exit of its chief technology officer and chief marketing officer.

An analyst familiar with the company's inner dealings said a dispute among BEA's upper ranks helped prompt the departures. Chuang has favored a consistent strategy of beefing up BEA's current product line, while others argued for a more expansive strategy that would call for large acquisitions to help fuel growth.

Since this summer, Chuang has focused on bringing on a new crop of managers, which is part of the company's plan to perk up its revenue growth. It hired Wai Wong from Computer Associates International in September to head up product development.

San Jose, Calif.-based BEA, which saw sales top $1 billion last year, has remained profitable. But analysts have voiced concern that the company's license revenue has dropped for three consecutive quarters.