BEA's chief technology officer says bye-bye

Second high-profile executive exits as the company reorganizes.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
3 min read
BEA Systems said on Tuesday that its chief technology officer, Scott Dietzen, is leaving--the second high-level departure from the company in two weeks.

Dietzen's departure is one of a series of organizational moves, including a revamped sales operation at the infrastructure software maker. The changes were put into effect on Monday, just as BEA announced that its second-quarter revenue and earnings will come in slightly below Thomson First Call's consensus estimate of polled financial analysts.

Dietzen, a high-profile technology executive in the software industry, will be replaced by Mark Carges, who has held both sales and product development roles at BEA. Dietzen follows the exit of technology visionary and former BEA chief architect Adam Bosworth, who left BEA to work for Google at the end of July.

Company Chairman and CEO Alfred Chuang, one of the original developers at BEA, has taken over the company's product organization. Earlier this year, Chuang moved Olivier Helleboid out of the top product development job.

BEA on Monday also created a worldwide field operation, naming former consulting chief Tom Ashburn as executive vice president in charge of a newly formed sales, marketing and services group.

Dietzen is expected to consult with some start-up companies and will likely join a smaller company at some point, said Kevin Faulkner, BEA's vice president of investor relations.

"(We) made some other changes or product priorities inside the company, and sometimes people decide to leave as you make those changes," Faulkner said.

Dietzen could not immediately be reached for comment.

Dietzen was involved in the development of important technical standards, including the Java 2 Enterprise Edition, which is the basis of Java server software products, as well as Web services protocols. He joined BEA when it acquired WebLogic in 1998.

In a memo sent to BEA employees, Chuang said "Scott Dietzen has decided to take a well-deserved break and move on after seven years of helping us promote WebLogic," BEA's flagship Java server software line.

As part of the memo, Chuang prioritized BEA's product areas. The top engineering job at BEA is "hardening," or updating, WebLogic 8.1, the company's main revenue-producing product, he said.

Chuang also singled out a project to build an application server for the telecommunications market as well as BEA's portal and integration products. Finally, Chuang said the company's goal is to deliver the "core," or common, functions for its WebLogic 9.0 Java server software suite by the first half of next year.

Some analysts voiced concern about the changes to BEA's top management team and the company's ongoing operations.

"Despite the very pressing nature of BEA's sales force execution problems, the new structure puts an added layer of administration between the CEO and the sales force, which would appear to lessen rather than heighten the managerial firepower," Charles Di Bona, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein & Co., said in a research note. Di Bona downgraded BEA's stock last month.

For its second quarter, ended July 30, BEA said revenue will fall between $260 million and $263 million, with earnings per share of between 7 cents and 8 cents a share. The median revenue target among financial analysts polled by Thomson First Call for the quarter was $266 million and 8 cents a share.

For its first quarter this year, BEA saw a big drop-off in software license sales, which the company blamed on poor economic conditions and changes to its sales organization.

BEA's shares were up 1.25 percent to reach $6.49 on Tuesday.