The brain drain continued at BEA Systems yesterday, as management instability claimed the company’s second technology visionary in less than a week.
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Scott Dietzen, one of the leading individuals behind BEA’s market-leading Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) WebLogic application server, has left the company to take time off, but is expected to return to the workplace with a start-up company, BEA said.
Dietzen’s exit follows last week’s departure of chief architect and senior vice president of advanced development Adam Bosworth who oversaw BEA’s ground breaking WebLogic Workshop J2EE web services development environment. Bosworth went to Google.
Also gone are vice president of products and solutions marketing Rick Jackson, now chief marketing officer at BEA partner Borland Software, and senor director for product marketing for WebLogic Server, Workshop and Tuxedo, Erik Frieberg, now Borland’s vice president of marketing.
Rumors, meanwhile, are swirling around a number of other leading executives are also poised to leave BEA along with lower-ranking staff.
The changes coincide with a number of management and structural changes, which have seen former head of services Tom Ashburn’s appointment as executive vice president of worldwide sales, marketing and services. Earlier, executive president of products Olivier Helleboid took over long-term strategy and planning while vice president and chief marketing officer Tod Nielson took charge of products.
BEA yesterday accounted for the exodus saying there’d been a shift in product priorities, which some individuals have disagreed with. However, one source pointed to the fact many changes had occurred following a pretty nasty board meeting.
BEA missed its second quarter sales targets, prompting a shake-up in sales, and is facing a growing struggle to retain application server market share against IBM and Oracle. Additionally, BEA is consistently tipped as an acquisition target.
Investor relations vice president Kevin Faulkner said yesterday BEA’s priorities are to harden the application server around performance and reliability, and respond to new customer priorities, around the use of portals to display both old and new data and applications.
Faulkner denied the exit of a second key technologist spelt doom for BEA’s ability to build products or that the exodus is demoralizing employees, who are now probably dusting off their resumes. They [Bosworth and Dietzen] didn’t work with developers. These people are still here and building the product, Faulkner said. Dietzen has been replaced by president of enterprise frameworks division Marc Carges.
Meta Group analyst Tom Murphy, though, said Dietzen and Bosworth’s departure clouded the company’s strategic direction, with those left arguing over how to stabilize the ship. It’s troubling when you see two CTO people leave the company, and you are left with sales and marketing people arguing, Murphy said.