Linuxcare CEO leaves, IPO delayed

Surprise resignation as tech stocks -- including former Linux high-flyers -- face increased turmoil

Linuxcare, which provides customer service for business Linux users, Friday announced the departure of its CEO and the delay of its stock market flotation.

The company declined to give reasons for the departure of Fernand Sarrat, who will be replaced by a newly-created "office of the CEO", headed by vice president of service delivery Pat Lambs.

The move comes amid declining fortunes for high-tech stocks, including Linux-related companies. Companies such as Red Hat and VA Linux Systems had wildly successful IPOs but have seen their share prices drop since. Tech stocks in general plummeted last week in the US and the UK after the Department of Justice announced a "guilty" verdict in Microsoft's anti-trust lawsuit.

"We are confident that Linuxcare's business plan, management strength, technology infrastructure, employee base, and technical expertise will enable us to work through this event and pursue our path toward an initial public offering and a long-term leading position in the Linux industry," said Lambs in a statement.

Linuxcare, which is in the "quiet period" which follows an IPO filing, said it will continue to assess market conditions in preparation for a float. The firm is backed by Credit Suisse First Boston, Chase H&Q, and Fleet Boston Robertson Stephens.

Also serving in the new CEO office will be Arthur Tyde, a co-founder and executive vice president of Linuxcare; Ted Schlein, chairman of the board of Linuxcare and a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; and Paul Vais, a Linuxcare director and a managing director at Patricof & Co. Ventures.

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