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10/5/2004
02:42 PM
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Computer Associates' Interim CEO Outlines Growth Plans

Product development, international expansion, and channel distribution will help drive growth.

With its most serious legal troubles apparently behind it, Computer Associates is once again focusing on growth and new ways of packaging and delivering its products, interim CEO Ken Cron said in an interview on Tuesday.

"We think CA has got huge opportunity in front of it," Cron said following his keynote speech at the TechXNY conference in New York. "CA is a company with huge assets, an incredible customer base. The employees are enthusiastic [once again]. We take that base and we move forward with it."

CA will focus on four key areas for future growth: internal product development, geographic expansion into India and other countries, new distribution channels, and acquisitions in its core product areas, Cron said.

The company's board of directors continues its search for a permanent replacement to former CEO Sanjay Kumar, who was indicted last month on securities fraud and other charges as part of a long-running federal investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas from several former executives. The CEO search could still take another 30 to 45 days, Cron said. He declined to characterize his own chances of landing the job permanently. "If they come to me, then the company will do an announcement," he said.

CA will look to expand the amount of business it does with value-added resellers and other channel partners, which today accounts for only about 10% of its business. "I see no reason why, over time, the channel business can't be a billion-dollar business for us," he said. The company also will increasingly target specific industries with its products, including federal agencies, financial companies, and health-care organizations.

Cron said he has personally talked to executives at CA's 100 largest business customers, either in person or by phone. Given the company's problems over the past couple of years, customer confidence is "extremely high," Cron said. He pledged that CA's sales practices won't repeat the mistakes of the past. "We're going to ensure everything we do has integrity [and] ethics."

CA's product strategy will continue to revolve around systems and network management, security, and storage. "We think the big position for CA is that all our products integrate as one, that you can manage heterogeneous environments [with them], and you can reduce risk and cost," Cron said.

During his keynote speech, Cron said CA will increasingly offer products and services that support the "second stage" of utility computing, such as managing on-demand environments beyond a company's own IT infrastructure to create a "community utility."

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