Bob Crowley, who helped lead Bowstreet Inc.'s meteoric rise within the emerging Web services market, has stepped down as CEO. Known as an intense and direct manager, Crowley will stay on to assist company co-founder and chairman Frank Moss until a new CEO is found. In the meantime, CFO Gary Haroian will take on the role of interim CEO.
Since its founding in 1998, Bowstreet has garnered $140 million in funding from such high-profile investors as AOL, General Electric, Charles River Ventures, General Electric, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company boasts 48 clients, including British Telecommunications plc and Cisco Systems.
Crowley, reached on his cell phone, declined to give a reason for his departure other than to say, "it was a very positive thing for both sides." He says his immediate plans are to "hang out with the family" for the rest of the year and return to the business world early next year. He wouldn't say whether he'd found another job. In a prepared statement, Moss also gave few details of the departure.
Gene Ostrovsky, executive VP of Bowstreet customer The Thread, which provides Internet-based supply-chain collaboration services to the garment industry, says Crowley was well respected. "As an executive to deal with, he was always straightforward, always helpful, and always attentive to our needs," Ostrovsky says. However, he says Crowley's departure "isn't going to cause the demise of Bowstreet."
Perhaps more threatening to Bowstreet is competition. It's operating in an unproven market that lately has caught the attention of far larger companies, including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems. Web services technologies are expected to someday provide companies with standards for linking applications over the Internet. Bowstreet's tools automate the design and assembly of composite Web applications.