Novell loses another exec

Exit puts networking giant's entire marketing under question

Only six months after joining Novell, director of marketing Patti Dock has left the company.

Dock is the latest of a growing number of Novell officials -- including marketing director John Slitz and senior VP Chris Stone -- to depart in the past few months. A growing number of industry watchers are questioning what's going on in Utah, wondering if Novell has begun backsliding, after nearly a year of growth in credibility and visibility in the eyes of its customers, partners and the public.

"The place is a mess because of low morale, lack of direction in Marketing -- Slitz, Stone, Dock now all gone. Novell's messages about digitalMe, DirXML etcetera etcetera are so confusing -- my CIO wants business reasons, not a technical sell," lamented one Novell customer, who requested anonymity.

While the Novell customer says rumour has it that Dock was fired, sources close to Novell said her leaving had more to do with internal politics. "She didn't like some changes made to the reporting structure," claimed one source close to the company. The source characterized Dock's departure on Tuesday as "very unexpected".

Dock, who came to Novell following stints at IBM, Bea Systems, GE Consulting and Bell Labs, had reported to Slitz until he left Novell earlier this year; after Slitz's departure, she reported to senior VP of products Stewart Nelson. Novell vice president for product management Dave Shirk is said to be filling in for Dock as interim director of product marketing until a replacement is found. Novell officials declined to comment, but did confirm that Dock is no longer with the company.