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Embedded-Linux Provider MontaVista Names New CEO

Software industry veteran Thomas Kelly has been named president, CEO and chairman at embedded Linux pioneer MontaVista Software Inc., while current CEO and founder Jim Ready will serve as the company's CTO.

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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Marking a transition point for the embedded Linux pioneer, MontaVista Software Inc. has recruited software industry veteran Thomas F. Kelly as its president, CEO and chairman. Founder Jim Ready, the previous CEO, will serve as chief technology officer.

MontaVista (Santa Clara, Calif.) provides embedded Linux for carrier-grade communications applications, consumer electronics, and mobile devices. The company has been shipping products for about six years, claims over 2,000 customers, and describes itself as the leading embedded Linux provider for the telecommunications market.

Before joining MontaVista, Kelly was working as a venture capitalist. He previously served as CEO of BlueStar Solutions, an IT outsourcing company, and CEO of Blaze Software, a supplier of business automation software. Kelly was also COO of Cirrus Logic, executive vice president at Frame Technology Corp., and CFO at Cadence Design Systems.

"I decided I wasn't ready to be an investor — I'm an operating guy," Kelly said. "I got introduced to MontaVista, loved the space, and came to the conclusion that Linux as a real-time embedded OS is definitely here to stay. I'm incredibly excited about our market position."

It's a natural "transition point" for a young, technology-oriented company to bring in seasoned management, Kelly noted. "Jim [Ready] did a fabulous job founding the company and establishing the technology leadership it enjoys today," Kelly said. "Jim will continue to play a role in providing technology leadership inside the company, but what's important for MontaVista today is to make sure we get our features out on an accelerated basis."

Kelly believes there is an "explosive growth opportunity" in the embedded Linux market, and he said that MontaVista is well positioned to maintain a strong position. "We are as well funded a company as you can be to go after this incredibly emerging marketplace," he said.

Kelly acknowledged that MontaVista experienced some "confusion" last year, when there were several changes in sales and marketing leadership. "I know how to address those kinds of issues, and to a certain extent that's why I was brought in," he said. Kelly noted that MontaVista experienced revenue growth in 2005 and expects strong growth in 2006.

MontaVista, which employs around 200 people, is privately held. Gartner Dataquest recently estimated that MontaVista held 4.4 percent of the $560 million real-time operating system (RTOS) market in 2004. That marketplace is expected to reach $689 million in 2006.

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