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CFO at Novell quits

The networking company's senior vice president and chief financial officer, James Tolonen, resigns.

Novell (NOVL) said today that its senior vice president and chief financial officer, James Tolonen, has resigned.

Dennis Raney, who has held CFO posts at QAD, General Magic, and California Microwave, has joined the company as interim chief financial officer. Raney's appointment is effective immediately, Novell said. Tolonen will, however, remain with Novell through the end of the company's second fiscal quarter on April 30, to "ensure a smooth transition."

"During his nearly 15 years of service, Jim has made significant contributions to Novell," Novell chief executive Eric Schmidt said in a statement. "He has been instrumental in building Novell's business. We wish him the very best."

Tolonen's departure follows a period of financial turmoil for Novell. A company official said, however, that he was an integral part of creating a more efficient and more focused company.

The networking software player's revenues plummeted last year as the company took pains to restructure and cut costs. During the August quarter, for example, revenues fell 75 percent from the year-ago period. The drop in revenue was a result of Schmidt's decisions to move out backlogged inventory by halting shipment of products to distributors--a segment that accounts for 54 percent of Novell's revenue--and to cut the company workforce by 18 percent, or 1,000 people.

After those drastic moves aimed at getting Novell back on track, the company managed to beat analysts' expectations for the two quarters that followed.

Tolonen, 48, who plans to take time off before deciding on his next career move, was rumored to be leaving the company nearly 8 months ago, in a report published in Computer Reseller News. At that time, Tolonen denied that he was leaving the company.

Novell closed at 10 9/16, up 3/16 in trading today.

Reporter Suzanne Galante contributed to this report.