IT Confidential: When It Rains, It Pours--Ask CA

From John Soat: CA's past "revenue recognition" practices earn SEC civil action ... NPR hires new CIO ... FedEx Institute of Technology's executive director moves on.

John Soat, Contributor

January 16, 2004

2 Min Read

When it rains, it pours," my mother used to say, and ain't it the truth--ask Computer Associates. The embattled software vendor got some bad news last week, and then got some more. First, CA confirmed receipt of a Securities and Exchange Commission "Wells Notice" informing the company that SEC staff, after a lengthy investigation, are prepared to recommend civil action by the commission against CA for past revenue-recognition policies. The charges pertain to conduct at the end of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2000. CA allegedly recorded revenue in that quarter that didn't actually come through until the following fiscal year. CA officials have a chance to respond to the Wells Notice before any legal action is taken. OK, that's bad enough. But later in the week, the head of one of CA's high-profile business units left the company. And not just any CA exec--Charles Wang's wife. Nancy Li, wife of the founder and former chairman of CA, is no longer CEO of iCan SP, CA's service-management software division. The Long Island newspaper Newsday reported that Li left CA over a power struggle between her and current chairman Sanjay Kumar, and that Li was summarily escorted off the premises last week. "No way," says a knowledgeable source, who says Li was packed, ready to go, and simply helped out of the building. Look for Li to emerge as the head of a new Web-services company very soon, the source says. Meanwhile, Larry Shoup has been named head of iCan. Shoup, a software industry veteran, came to CA from Janus Technologies.

National Public Radio, better known as NPR, last week tapped Robert Holstein as its new CIO. The Washington-based nonprofit is looking to leverage Holstein's IT and telecommunications experience, according to NPR executive VP Ken Stern. Before NPR, Holstein was business information officer at Capital One Financial, and before that, director of information systems at Bell Atlantic Network Services, now a division of Verizon.

Jim Phillips, the executive director of the FedEx Institute of Technology, is calling it quits. A FedEx spokeswoman says Phillips had stayed past his original two-year commitment to the research and development initiative to oversee the recent opening of an impressive, 95,000-square-foot facility at the University of Memphis campus. In an interview with the Memphis Business Journal, Phillips said he's ready to move on to his next entrepreneurial venture. His resumé includes stints as CEO of iPix and president and co-founder of SkyTel.

I spend most of my working time in a home office, so being "escorted" out of the building would have a whole different meaning for me. Not that I'm worried, but if you have the name of a good lawyer, or an industry tip, send them to [email protected] or phone 516-562-5326. If you want to talk about karma and Computer Associates, NPR's liberal leanings, or FedEx's business-technology expertise, meet me at's Listening Post:

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