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CA Sharpens Cloud Focus, Taps Ex-Taleo Chief for CEO

CA Technologies on Wednesday said it has appointed former Taleo chief Michael Gregoire as its new CEO in a move to step up its emphasis on cloud computing.

Gregoire will replace existing CEO William McCracken effective Jan. 7, CA said. McCracken, 70, is retiring after a three-year stint as CEO. Like his predecessor, John Swainson, McCracken spent more than three decades at IBM. Though Swainson retired in early 2010, he re-emerged in February as president of Dell's newly formed software group, where he recently engineered the $2.4 billion acquisition of Quest Software, a CA rival.

The choice of Gregoire appears to suggest CA's board wants to accelerate its cloud push. As CEO of Taleo, which provides Software as a Service talent management software, Gregoire helped engineer the sale of Taleo to Oracle this year for $1.9 billion. Gregoire's credential also include stops at CRM and ERP software supplier Peoplesoft, also acquired by Oracle, and EDS.

Now Gregoire, 46, is moving from Silicon Valley to Long Island and it will be interesting to see what he has in store for the longtime supplier of mainframe systems management vendor founded by Charles Wang. Of course, CA has diversified quite a bit and over the past few years and has emphasized management of cloud-based systems and apps with a number of small acquisitions. But overall, while the company is known for a solid though highly diversified line of enterprise systems and cloud management software, it has enjoyed moderate growth.

The board's decision to tap a Silicon Valley veteran rather than go back to the well of IBM execs could suggest a more aggressive growth posture for CA. The question is, will Gregoire look to let shareholders cash out by selling CA in its entirety or in pieces? Or will he look to build up and diversify CA's cloud portfolio?

"I believe CA Technologies has a compelling value proposition, a strong reputation and a growing relevance for customers, software engineering, and partners," Gregoire said in a statement. "It is clear that CA Technologies is well-positioned to lead the industry as companies find it more critical than ever to manage and secure their IT environments in the cloud and efficiently provide business services that enable them to win in the marketplace."

It stands to reason Gregoire may look at CA with a fresh set of eyes. "He brings a different perspective to CA that they haven't had in a chief executive," Matt Hedberg, an equity analyst with RBC Capital Markets, told Newsday (subscription required). "It's certainly going to help their long-term vision and outlook."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on December 13, 2012


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