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CA World to focus on integration software, customer reassurances

Users are concerned about the company's recent management shake-up

By Matt Hamblen
May 5, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - As Computer Associates International Inc. heads into its annual global user conference later this month, it faces serious user concerns about the soundness of the company and its leadership.
In an interview with Computerworld yesterday, Mark Barrenechea, CA's senior vice president for product development, acknowledged that those concerns will be top of mind among users at the conference, and that the company will use the forum to address them. Also high on the agenda will be the unveiling of an initiative to integrate management functions horizontally across product lines for security, storage, operations and software application life-cycle management, Barrenechea said. The initiative is designed to help customers lower the total cost of ownership for systems and network management products, he said.
Barrenechea confirmed that former CEO Sanjay Kumar, now CA's chief software architect, won't be giving a keynote address as previously planned; That role will go instead to Kenneth Cron, a CA director who is now interim CEO. Nor will guest keynote speaker Madeleine Albright, the former U.S. secretary of State, appear. Albright cited personal reasons for withdrawing from the event, according to CA officials (see story).
Barrenechea also clarified Kumar's role as chief software architect, saying that he now has no operational or managerial responsibilities. Instead, Kumar will have more time to "speak to customers and guide software strategy," he said. He called Kumar "brilliant and world-class and one of our best assets" and said Kumar will be available to speak to customers at CA World even though he is no longer delivering a keynote speech.
Despite promising technology announcements, customers visiting CA World in Las Vegas will primarily want to hear about CA's soundness, Barrenechea said.
"Certainly, I think the top issue will be the state of the company, [which is] top of mind for everyone and a fair question," he said. Cron, who was appointed on Apil 26 (see story), "brings a lot of maturity ... a lot of stability ... understands the macro aspects of the marketplace and is providing fantastic interim leadership for us. [He will] be speaking very directly about the company."
Barrenechea said the accounting problems stemmed from reporting irregularities in 2000 and 2001 and didn't involve phony revenues. "Our statement [from April 26] showed that it was simply a matter of timing ... though very serious. All our business was real."
Other CA officials last week described an audit showing that $2.2 billion in revenue was booked prematurely by quarter within fiscal 2000 and 2001, in which 35-day months were used to time revenue recognition.
On a positive financial note,

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