Commerce One taps former FedEx exec as new COO

Business-to-business software vendor Commerce One Inc., which last week warned about weak financial results for the first quarter, has named former FedEx Corp. CIO Dennis Jones as its chief operating officer and vice chairman.

In his new position, Jones, 48, will be responsible for engineering, marketing, financial, legal and administrative operations at the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company. He will report directly to Mark Hoffman, Commerce One's CEO and chairman.

During his 25 years at FedEx, Jones led the Memphis-based company's technology initiatives, including Web-based package processing and shipment tracking. He also sat on FedEx's five-person executive team, which is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the $20 billion global shipping giant. He retired from FedEx last April (see story).

During Jones' tenure at FedEx, the company grew from 2,000 employees and $30 million in revenue to more than 200,000 employees and $20 billion in global revenue, Commerce One said in a statement.

"Dennis has made a truly historic contribution to the role of technology in driving business change," Hoffman said in the statement. "We believe his appointment is strategic for Commerce One. Along with our customers and partners, Commerce One is building the foundation for the future of global commerce, enabling companies everywhere to buy, sell and collaborate on the Web. We are delighted to have Dennis join us in this effort, given his experience and proven leadership ability."

John Fontanella, an analyst at AMR Research Inc. in Boston, said hiring Jones is a good move for Commerce One.

"Dennis was a visionary at FedEx. He understands enterprise requirements, and he has the polish and poise to deal with CEOs of companies," Fontanella said. "He understands the direction large companies are going in, and he's going to help Commerce One mature as a company as it moves from indirect procurement to direct procurement."

Last week, Commerce One warned of weak financial results and said an expected first-quarter loss will likely be three times larger than previously predicted because of a shortfall in revenue (see story). The announcement came after similar warnings were made last week by Ariba Inc., i2 Technologies Inc. and BroadVision Inc., all of which also develop business-to-business applications. All four vendors said they have been hit by a slowdown in purchases by their corporate users.

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