Management Turnover as Change Agent

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SumTotal Systems Brings in New CEO

SumTotal Systems, Inc. SUMT (NASDAQ), the software company that develops, markets, distributes and supports leaDon Fowler, Retiring CEO of SumTotalrning, performance and talent management products, has chosen an outside candidate, Arun Chandra, to replace Dan Fowler the current CEO.  Fowler, who is 70, has announced his retirement effective November 1.  Fowler will continue as a business advisor  to the company through his official termination on December 31.  He has been CEO of the firm since 2005.  According to the company’s press release,

Chandra is a veteran of Hewlett-Packard where he began his career as a software engineer. During his 20-year tenure at HP, Chandra held many leadership positions, his final as vice president of worldwide marketing, strategy & alliances for the Technology Solution Group, a $30 billion enterprise business. Earlier in his career with HP, he served as general manager of several growing businesses including the PC Direct Arun Chandra, Newly selected CEO of SumTotal 

 business. He left HP in 2005 to serve as the president and chief executive officer of iPolicy Networks, a network security company. 

Most recently, Chandra served as vice president of corporate operations at Unisys where he led the company’s change management efforts. He also managed a broad range of corporate functions including the office of the CTO, corporate strategy & development, worldwide marketing and global alliances, among others. 

SumTotal has not been performing well from a shareholder perspective, yet the company’s overall financials have been reasonably solid.  While Chandra has a great deal of experience in the technology/software sector he has had limited experience as a CEO.   It is difficult to assess whether his long time experience at Hewlett Packard, recSumTotal’s Share One Share Performance from BigChartsent stint at Unisys handling change management along with his short stint as CEO at iPolicy Networks are sufficient for assessing the potential he will have as SumTotal’s CEO.  It is difficult to determine what he plans to do to help the company’s shareholder performance.Keep a close eye on the company going forward.  Particularly any specific moves or new hires Chandra initiates. 

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