Iona cuts workforce, names new CEO

Iona Technologies today eliminated 180 jobs, or 33% of its workforce, as new CEO Chris Horn (below) moved quickly to return the middleware provider to profitability. The workforce reduction comes just three days after a trio of top executives, including CEO Barry Morris, resigned Friday as co-founder and former CEO Horn took the reins of the struggling ORB maker.

A spokesman told e-ADT that that the layoff affected every Iona department and geographic operation of the Dublin, Ireland-based firm.

COO Steven Fisch, who joined the firm less than a year ago, and six-year Iona veteran David James, executive vice president of corporate development, also resigned last week. At the same time, long-time board member Kevin Melia, a former CFO at Sun Microsystems, succeeded Morris as chairman.

Best known for its successful Orbix CORBA-based object request broker over the past 10 years, Iona efforts to move into Web services and other non-CORBA technologies have taken longer than expected, leading to losses and layoffs.

"Today is a time of refocusing on our core competencies -- making sure that we've got the right product going forward," Horn told e-ADT. "Clearly, it's [an] extremely difficult economic marketplace out there, and we've got to make sure that we have clear value propositions for our customers."

Horn returns to the post almost three years to the day after he stepped down and turned the CEO position over to then-COO Morris. A former lecturer at Ireland's Trinity College, Horn co-founded Iona in 1991.

The move also comes a month after Iona reported first quarter losses totaling $11.9 million, almost double the year-earlier deficit. Revenue for the quarter was $17 million, down from the year-earlier total of $39.5 million.

Horn describes new Chairman Melia as "an old mentor of mine," who served on the Iona board during his last term as CEO. "It's like the old times are back."

Horn will be based in Iona's Dublin headquarters, while Melia will be based at the firm's U.S. headquarters in Waltham, Mass.

About the Authors

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.


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