BEA Chief Stepping Down

BEA Systems CEO Bill Coleman said he's stepping down from day-to-day management of the company and handing the reigns to Chief Operating Officer and fellow co-founder Alfred Chuang. The 54-year-old Coleman will continue as chairman of the San Jose, Calif.-based maker of application server software, and take on the additional title of chief strategy officer.

Chuang, 40, told reporters that his immediate focus will be to develop and deploy a coherent set of technologies based on the company's flagship product, the WebLogic app server.

Chuang and Coleman founded BEA with Ed Scott and thus named the company by joining the initials of the three founder's first names. Coleman joked that the company had "... just moved from a 'B' player to an 'A' player."

The company's management transition was not unexpected. Coleman had made it clear in the past that he planned to step down before turning 55. He said that he will continue to work on long-term strategy and building relationships with customers, and likened his new role to that of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Gates handed the CEO's duties over to Steve Ballmer in January 2000, but retained a strategic role.

In recent months, BEA has seen sales growth slow and its stock plummet as customers have slashed technology budgets. For the current quarter ending this month analysts expect BEA's license sales to increase only 35%, compared with almost 90% growth during the spring.

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About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].