Caldera CEO steps aside to focus on UnitedLinux

After co-founding what is now Caldera International Inc. in 1994 and helping the company grow into an international Unix and Linux vendor, CEO and President Ransom Love is moving over to head the company's recently announced involvement with UnitedLinux.

In an announcement Thursday, the company said Love will be replaced by Darl McBride, who most recently was president of the online planning business at Salt Lake City-based personal and organizational effectiveness vendor FranklinCovey Co.

Love will now guide Caldera's role in the UnitedLinux effort announced last month. Under that deal, Lindon, Utah-based Caldera is joining three other Linux vendors -- SuSE Linux AG, Conectiva SA and Turbolinux Inc. -- to pool resources in creating and selling a standardized enterprise version of Linux aimed at drastically increasing its adoption in business computing. Joining the effort to offer a uniform Linux distribution by year's end are more than a dozen hardware and software vendors, including IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co., AMD Corp. and Intel Corp. The dominant player in the U.S. Linux marketplace, Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat Inc., isn't yet involved in the new initiative.

Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass., said the appointment of Love to lead the company's UnitedLinux effort fills an important need there. The problem, though, is that "if you look at Caldera's place in the market and its revenues, one could ask if he's the right person to lead this effort," Kusnetzky said. The company's total revenue has declined from $170 million in 1999 to $70 million in 2001, Kusnetzky said. "If he's leading a ship that's had nothing but declines, it makes you wonder."

He said the job shift for Love could be a case of "moving him away from the controls at Caldera to let someone else take over."

Love couldn't be reached this morning for comment. He has been responsible for the company's strategic direction and planning, overseeing engineering, support, marketing and sales. After being founded as Caldera Inc. in 1994, the company renamed itself Caldera Systems Inc. in 1998 as it began to develop Linux-based business software. Last year, Caldera Systems acquired the assets of the server software division and professional services division of The Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO) and was renamed Caldera International Inc.

Love became president and CEO of Caldera in 1998 and led the company through its initial public offering and acquisition of SCO's server division. He has a bachelor's degree in international relations and an MBA from Brigham Young University.

McBride was formerly CEO of PointServe, a workforce optimization software company, and was the founder, chairman and CEO of SBI and Co., a professional services company. He also previously worked as a senior vice president at IKON Office Solutions.

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