End of an era at CA
- By Jack Vaughan
Following months of speculation, Charles Wang this week retired from his
position as chairman of the board of Computer Associates (CA) International
Inc., Islandia, N.Y.
CA immediately named CEO Sanjay Kumar to succeed the retiring Wang, who
co-founded the company in 1976 and led it on a two-decade acquisition spree that
made CA one of the world's largest software companies. The Board named Wang to
the honorary, non-voting position of Chairman Emeritus.
''I am pleased to have completed the transition of leadership to Sanjay, who
has been a trusted colleague and a valuable partner, in a smooth and orderly
way,'' said Mr. Wang. ''It is very gratifying to have completed this
important step successfully by grooming and recommending my successor,'' Wang
said in a statement.
Charles Wang led CA over the course of 25 years to become one of the largest
software companies in history. In 1989, CA became the first independent software
company to reach $1 billion in annual sales. The company focused on software
found in large corporate IT centers.
Much of CA's growth was obtained through a series of dramatic mergers that
marked Wang as an especially aggressive competitor. Wang and company made a
specialty out of identifying companies with well-established niche product
revenues, and quickly cutting corporate overhead of companies once they were
acquired. Capex Software, Legent, Sterling Software, Software International,
Platinum Technologies and Cheyenne were just some of the acquisition targets.
The acquisition of Uccel Corp. in 1987 brought Kumar into the fold.
Some observers peg Wang's departure as the end of an era. CA's long string of
mergers peaked in 1999 with the purchase of Platinum, and in 2000 with the
purchase of Sterling. Changes in accounting rules, depression of stock prices
and a paucity of apt targets were widely cited as reasons for the end of the
A series of stockholder suits followed the purchase of Sterling. The suits
included criticisms of CA's customer relations and Wang's corporate governance.
Much criticism centered on an executive compensation plan that tied common stock
performance goals to a near $1-billion payday shared by Wang, Kumar and another
Kumar has served as CA president and CEO since August 2000.
Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.