Sybase names co-CEO, takes $70m charge

Sybase Inc. announced Thursday that it would take a $70 million restructuring charge in the first quarter of 1998 as it unveiled a new management structure featuring co-CEOs.

The Emeryville, Calif., database and tools vendor has created an Office of the Chief Executive with responsibilities to be shared by Chairman and CEO Mitchell Kertzman and President John Chen, who will also now hold the title of CEO.

As originally reported by PC Week Online, the news comes atop an announcement Monday that the company was laying off 600 employees, or 11 percent of its workforce, following a disappointing 1997 in which Sybase (SYBS) lost $55 million.

Sybase officials said in a teleconference that the restructuring is expected to reduce costs by $100 million in 1998 as it refocuses on three market-growth initiatives: Web computing, occasionally connected computing, and data warehousing.

Sybase said it expected to use as much as $40 million in cash this year to cover staff reductions and streamlining. Monday's layoff announcement marked the second time in three years that Sybase, once the second-biggest publisher of database software, has had to lay off employees.

Sybase also said that it planned to repurchase as much as $25 million worth of its outstanding common stock. In addition, Sybase said that Chief Financial Officer Jack Acosta, who is also senior vice president, was named executive vice president, reporting to Chen.

"With these moves, we are taking the necessary steps to return the company to profitability," said Acosta.