PeopleSoft Fills Key Vacancy - InformationWeek

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4/21/2004
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PeopleSoft Fills Key Vacancy

It named former Siebel exec George Ahn as VP and general manager of its CRM business.

PeopleSoft Inc. filled a key vacancy when it named former IBM and Siebel Systems executive George Ahn as group VP and general manager of its customer-relationship-management business. Ahn's hiring, announced Tuesday, comes two months after former general manager Joe Davis left PeopleSoft to become CEO of Web analytics startup Coremetrics Inc.

Ahn takes over PeopleSoft CRM at a crucial juncture: The company is preparing to launch a new version of its CRM platform by the end of June, and he sees the timing as an opportunity to establish his presence in the CRM market. While the technology has been under development for some time, Ahn, who was general manager of Siebel's midmarket and sales-force-automation divisions from 1999 to 2002, says he intends to play a significant role in PeopleSoft's go-to-market strategy for the product release. Meanwhile, rival Siebel just posted healthy first-quarter numbers that featured a 13% rise in license revenue.

Ahn says his priorities as he takes the helm are clear: He wants PeopleSoft to become the top vendor in the CRM market; he wants to build on the company's customer focus by driving product development around the needs of those customers; and he wants to ensure continuous improvements to what PeopleSoft calls the "total ownership experience," meaning that its products are user-friendly and simple to maintain. "That's one area where CRM has gotten a black eye in the past," Ahn says.

Prior to joining PeopleSoft, Ahn was executive VP and chief marketing officer for integration vendor Tibco Software. Ahn spent 13 years at IBM, where he became director of worldwide software sales before leaving in 1999 to join Siebel. He says he decided to leave Tibco to join PeopleSoft because customers increasingly are looking to turn to one vendor for a full suite of enterprise applications. "That's a huge advantage for PeopleSoft," he says. "It's something the standalone apps vendors can't do."

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