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Executive flight continues at BEA

The exit of Chief Marketing Officer Tod Nielsen is the sixth confirmed executive departure from the company in the past two months.

BEA Systems' chief marketing officer and executive vice president has resigned, in the latest of a string of high-level executive departures at the struggling software company.

According to a regulatory filing, Tod Nielsen has resigned to "pursue other interests" and will leave the company effective Aug. 26.

Nielsen joined BEA in 2001, when the company acquired development tools maker Crossgain, where he was CEO. Before joining Crossgain, Nielsen had spent 12 years at Microsoft, where he worked on software development technology.

Nielsen's departure is the sixth confirmed executive departure in the past two months from BEA, which sells infrastructure software for building and running business applications. Chief Architect Adam Bosworth left in late July to join Google, and another high-profile executive, former Chief Technology Officer Scott Dietzen, resigned in early August.

The company's internal tumult comes as it struggles to regain its financial footing in the highly competitive marketplace for application servers and related software, including portals and integration. These server software suites are viewed as strategic because customers are increasingly standardizing on a single infrastructure for all of their business applications.

In the past two quarters, BEA's revenue from new software licenses, a closely watched indicator of financial health, has dipped, though the company has remained profitable.

During its second-quarter earnings call earlier this month, company CEO Alfred Chuang said that BEA is taking steps to become more stable.

Chuang has reorganized BEA's sales and support operations, placing Tom Ashburn in charge of a newly formed worldwide sales, marketing and support group. Chuang has also brought on Wai Wong, formerly the general manager of Computer Associates International's Unicenter product group, to head up BEA's product development group. Nielsen had temporarily been in charge of product development since earlier this year.

Even as BEA deals with the internal upheaval, the company faces a surge in competition from Oracle, which is aggressively expanding its application server suite business. Open-source Java-based application servers are also growing in popularity. According to market research, IBM and BEA were the market leaders for application server software last year.