Former Novell head Messman quits board early

The former head of Novell, Jack Messman, has quit the company's board of directors earlier than previously indicated.

Novell's former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jack Messman, who was ousted from those positions in June, has quit the company's board of directors a month and a half earlier than had been previously announced.

Messman quit Novell's board Monday, a company spokesman confirmed Thursday. In June, Novell said that Messman would remain on its board until Oct. 31.

Novell made a brief 8-K filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Tuesday stating that Messman told the board Sept. 8 that he would resign from the board effective Sept. 11.

"This was just a personal decision by Jack," the Novell spokesman wrote in an e-mail. "If there had been any substantive disagreement with the board leading to his resignation, we would have had to state that in the SEC filing."

Messman, 66, was booted out of his leadership roles at Novell by his fellow board members in a move they characterized as a way to better position the company to boost its growth. He became Novell CEO when the vendor acquired the consulting company he headed up, Cambridge Technology Partners, in 2001.

Ron Hovsepian, Novell's president and chief operating officer, added the CEO title to his existing positions, while Thomas Plaskett, a Novell director, became chairman.

Novell executives in June stressed that the departures of Messman along with Joseph Tibbetts, the company's chief financial officer, weren't driven by accounting issues or any other improprieties.

Late last month, Novell revealed that it had embarked upon a voluntary internal review to investigate how the company granted stock options to employees in recent years. Novell also cautioned that its third-quarter fiscal 2006 results should be considered preliminary financials until the company concludes the review in case the findings indicate Novell needs to restate its earnings.

On Monday, Novell made a filing to the SEC indicating that it does expect to be late in filing its third-quarter 10-K in the light of the ongoing stock options review.

"Based on preliminary findings, the audit committee of Novell's board of directors engaged independent outside legal counsel to conduct the review," Novell said in the filing.

Novell added that it's not in a position to predict when the review will be completed.

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