Novell Dumps CEO, CFO

Novell this morning announced that its Board of Directors has ousted the company's CEO and CFO.

CEO Jack L. Messman, 66, and former CFO Joseph S. Tibbetts, Jr., 53, have been let go effective immediately. The board elected current president Ronald W. Hovsepian, 45, to become president and CEO, and is currently looking for a CFO. The company's current vice president of finance and corporate controller, Dana C. Russell, 44, has stepped into that position temporarily.

"The Board concluded that a management change would be the best way to accelerate the execution of our growth strategy and build value for shareholders. Ron is the ideal choice to lead the company as we continue with our transition to Linux-based products and identity and resource management and leverage our unique support of mixed source environments," Thomas G. Plaskett, a Novell director who was also elected as non-executive Chairman of the board during the shake-up, said in a released statement.

Hovsepian commented: "I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to lead Novell and to aggressively execute our strategic plan. In recent months, we have adopted a comprehensive strategy, strengthened our portfolio through both acquisitions and organic growth, and divested the non-core Celerant business. Although we still have much to do, these steps have positioned us to take full advantage of recent trends towards a mixed source computing environment based on open source and open standards."

Hovsepian joined Novell in 2003 as president of North America. Before that, he worked for IBM for 17 years, including serving as that company's worldwide general manager.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including,, and, among others.