Sun's CFO to retire this summer

After 15 years at the server company, Sun Microsystems Chief Financial Officer Mike Lehman plans to head out July 1.

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Sun Microsystems Chief Financial Officer Mike Lehman will retire July 1 after 15 years at the server company. He will be the second top-ranking executive in less than two weeks to announce a departure.

Replacing Lehman, 51, will be Steve McGowan, who joined Sun in 1992 and who will be promoted from vice president of finance, planning and administration for Sun's Global Sales Operations.

Lehman worked at Sun as the Santa Clara, Calif.-based server seller expanded its product line with higher-end machines and unseated Hewlett-Packard to become the No. 1 Unix server seller. Named CFO in January 1998, he oversaw Sun's finances as the company stashed away billions of dollars from customers who madly bought equipment during the Internet boom.

And Lehman was there for the grisly aftermath, when Sun's core customers drastically curtailed spending, IBM came back fighting with stronger competition and Sun was forced to cut staff.

Lehman's resignation isn't the only major change in Sun's executive suite, a clock tower in a former mental institution in Silicon Valley. Less than two weeks ago, John Shoemaker, the head of Sun's server groups, also said he'd retire on July 1, the beginning of Sun's next fiscal year. Shoemaker won't be replaced, Sun said.

Like Shoemaker, Lehman plans to work part-time to teach future Sun executives, Sun said.

McGowan, 53, has been managing the finance, planning and administration of Sun's sales force, reporting to Lehman and the head of executive vice president in charge of sales, Masood Jabbar. Before that, he led finance and planning for Sun's computer systems, network storage and service provider divisions.