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Linux firms Red Hat, Caldera name new CFOs

Red Hat promotes vice president Kevin Thompson, who joined the company just last month, while Caldera chooses a veteran high-tech executive.

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Red Hat, a provider of Linux software and support, said Thursday that it has promoted vice president Kevin Thompson to the post of chief financial officer.

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Red Hat promotion
Kevin Thompson, CFO, Red Hat

Meanwhile, Caldera Systems, another of the few publicly traded Linux companies, hired its own new CFO, Robert Bench, previously president and CFO of WebMiles. Bench faces two major jobs, trying to pull Caldera's stock above its current price of about $3.25 a share and handling the acquisition of Santa Cruz Operations' Unix operating system software and services.

Bench, with experience in complex transactions such as acquisitions, was hired "to take the company to the next level," said spokeswoman Nancy Pomeroy. He replaces Alan Hansen, who had become Caldera Systems CFO a year ago.

Caldera Systems and Red Hat aren't the only companies shuffling managers. Linuxcare, which like Red Hat sells Linux services but unlike it doesn't sell a version of operating system, also has been changing its top brass. Two weeks ago, the company reappointed its previous chief executive back to the post after management turmoil and a long search for a new CEO.

Thompson, who joined Red Hat just last month, replaces former Red Hat CFO Hal Covert, who left the company in July for the same position at struggling hardware maker SGI.

As the new CFO, Thompson said in a statement he is confident that the company is on track to meet earlier-stated financial goals, including its target of turning a profit by the end of calendar year 2001.

Before joining Red Hat, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Thompson served at a pair of Big Five auditing firms: as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and as senior manager at Arthur Andersen.

Hansen will leave Caldera Systems on Nov. 15 to work with Corda Technologies, a company also based in Orem, Utah, that creates charts for Web sites, Pomeroy said. Before joining Caldera, Hansen was controller for PowerQuest.

The Linux operating system in the past few years has been moving into the mainstream, as corporations have turned to it as an alternative to Microsoft Windows and various versions of Unix.