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Business software maker Iona names new CEO

Iona Technologies names chief operating officer Barry Morris its new chief executive, replacing Chris Horn, who stepped down today after nearly a decade at the helm.

Business software maker Iona Technologies has named chief operating officer Barry Morris its new chief executive, replacing Chris Horn, who stepped down today after nearly a decade at the helm.

Horn, who has been chief executive since Iona launched in 1991, will stay on as chairman and will focus his efforts on strategy, a company spokesman said.

Iona competes with dozens of software firms, including stalwarts IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, in the lucrative e-commerce software market. The Dublin, Ireland-based firm builds software that allows businesses to create Web sites that link their customers, partners and employees. The technology helps companies build Web portal sites that let people access email, corporate resources and information, as well as commerce offerings.

"There are certainly dozens of companies claiming to have what it takes, but we think there's not that many that can come out and win," said Morris, the newly-installed chief executive. "We intend to be a winner at the end."

Horn has guided Iona through a tough transition over the past year, as the company acquired several companies to support the Java programming language in its products. Iona has historically supported a complex programming model called Common Object Request Broker Architecture.

Iona and several dozen software makers, including Bluestone Software, BEA Systems and Sun-Netscape Alliance, support Java to compete against Microsoft's Windows-dominated programming model.

Iona, which missed analysts' earnings estimates during last year's first quarter, has strung together four consecutive profitable quarters since then. The company last month reported first-quarter income of $3.2 million, or 14 cents a share, on $30.7 million in revenue.

In other moves today, Iona chief financial officer David James was promoted to executive vice president of corporate development. Dan Demmer, previously Iona's vice president of finance, was promoted to chief financial officer. Bob Potter, the company's senior vice president of sales and services, has become executive vice president of business operations, where he will oversee Iona's sales, professional services and marketing efforts.