Reuters is reporting that two CxO's at Novell -- CEO Jack Messman and CFO Joseph Tibbetts -- have gotten the boot. Or should I say dragged out with their boots on. According to the brief:
Novell's board of directors elected Ronald Hovsepian as chief executive officer, the company said Thursday. The software company's board decided that CEO Jack Messman and Chief Financial Officer Joseph Tibbetts would leave Novell effective June 21...
The move comes as no suprise. In a story he wrote last year (see Hovesepian now heir apparent at Novell), News.com's Stephen Shankland saw this day coming. Wrote Shankland in November '05:
Ron Hovsepian, promoted to president and chief operating officer of Novell on Tuesday, is likely to replace Jack Messman as chief executive as well.....Hovsepian's promotion to president and COO, and now his stroll toward the CEO office, contrasts sharply with desires Messman expressed in a February interview with CNET News.com. Asked if he wanted to hire a new COO or to be replaced as CEO, Messman responded with a decisive "no"...."They're going to have to drag me out with my boots on. I love working for Novell. I helped create it more than 20 years ago," he said at the time. "I hope the board will support me"....But the board took a different approach when it directed Novell to change Hovsepian's severance agreement.
The board's signalling lack of confidence in Messman and Tibbetts is not a good sign. But it wasn't a suprise either. Novell's mindshare has been slipping into obscurity and is largely being propped up by its acquistion of SuSE Linux. More recently, the company has been trying to will desktop Linux into the market. But aside from a few pockets of adoption, there has been no surge. Even worse, of the various distributions of Linux, Ubuntu is the one that's been getting the lion's share of the attention in the news and blogosphere as of late.