News

Inprise CEO and CFO Resign

In a surprise announcement that may seem like a corporate April Fools joke, Inprise Corp. (www.inprise.com) today announced the resignation of chairman and CEO Delbert W. Yocam and Kathleen Fisher, vice president and chief financial officer (CFO).

Inprise, formerly named Borland until April 1998 when the company changed the name to Inprise, brought Yocam to the company in 1996 after his successful stints at Apple Computer Inc. (www.apple.com) and Tektronix Inc. (www.tek.com). The former Borland has a history painted in red. It posted a net loss of almost $13.5 million in the first quarter 1998; that number was $44.5 million the same period a year before. The newer Inprise has been in reportedly more reasonable shape, however. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 1998, the company recorded net income of $8.3 million, as opposed the net loss of $48.4 million dollars the year before. Met with increasing competition from Microsoft Corp. and other development vendors, the company's position was never going to be easy.

Inprise was split into two divisions earlier this year, Inprise, focussing on enterprise-scale application development and application servers, and Borland.com, focussing on Web and e-commerce tools. This was seen as a move motivated by Yocam.

"One can only assume there maybe financial issues involved," says Dave Kelly, vice president of application strategies for the Hurwitz Group Inc. (www.hurwitz.com). "It's a real surprise. [The resignation] may stem from Del's inability to increase the valuation of the company and increase the move toward the enterprise sector."

For now, a management committee has been established at Inprise's Scotts Valley, Calif. headquarters to keep operations moving ahead smoothly. That committee, which includes James Weil and John Floisand, the presidents of the company's two divisions; Jay Leite, formerly vice president of business development and who has been named an interim CFO; and Hobart McK. Birmingham, vice president and general counsel, will report to an executive committee of the Board of Directors. Kelly says it's important the company replace Yocam with a strong prominent executive or risk a major loss in sales.

Either way, Inprise is vulnerable and it could be eaten by bigger players such as Sun Microsystems Inc or Oracle Corp. In fact, that could be the reason Yocam and Fisher took the initiative to leave. "It's possible there was some acquisition or partnership talks that [Yocam] didn't agree with," hypothesizes Kelly. "This type of change is going to need to be explained." So far, it hasn't been. -- Brian Ploskina, Assistant Editor

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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