CA World: Cron reassures customers about CA's stability
He called this week's event 'a new chapter' for the company
IDG News Service - Three weeks into his stint as interim CEO of Computer Associates International Inc., Ken Cron used his opening keynote yesterday at CA's annual show to reassure customers that the company is ready to move beyond the turmoil of the past few months.
"CA World 2004 marks the beginning of a new chapter for this company," Cron said. "Tonight, I'm here to tell you that I'm committing CA to the highest standards of fiscal discipline and integrity."
CA has recently been under an uncomfortable spotlight as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have neared the end of years-long investigations into a multibillion-dollar accounting fraud at CA. The scandal's fallout has led to criminal charges against four former executives and the forced resignations of more than a dozen management-level employees.
Cron devoted much of his keynote address to reassuring the show's 10,000 attendees of CA's stability and commitment to continuing the reforms it has undertaken in the past few years. To familiarize customers with CA's new management lineup, his presentation included videotaped comments from a number of CA's top executives, including Sanjay Kumar, who stepped down as CEO and now serves as chief software architect.
One of the executives Cron introduced is Gary Quinn, a 19-year CA employee recently given charge of the company's partner program. Renewed attention to its channel business will be CA's No. 1 priority this year as the company seeks to expand its penetration in the small and medium-size business markets, Cron said.
One partner attending the show, products services head Jurgen Niegengerd of NIIT Technologies AG, said CA has made great strides in the past year to improve its sometimes rocky relationship with partners. "I was wondering about the new CEO, but I think the good [changes] will be continued," said Niegengerd, who works in NIIT's Monheim, Germany, office. "It's OK that the keynote was not too focused on technical details. I expect to hear that [Monday]."
Several customers were curious to hear how Cron would address the accounting fraud and management overhaul. Joe Egger of First Data Corp. in Omaha said he was pleased that Cron dealt forthrightly with the issue. Egger said he came away with a positive impression of the new CEO and of CA's corporate direction.
First-time CA World attendee Beatrice Sirchis, head of the computer security department at Israeli telecommunications firm Bezeq, said she appreciated hearing about the depth of CA's product portfolio and planning. The company's accounting problems and management turnover don't concern her.
"As long as everything is going OK with the products,we don't mind any changes," Sirchis said. "It's an internal affair."
Emily Kumler of PC World contributed to this report.
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