Baan taps IBM exec for CF0

The former chief financial officer of IBM Americas, James Mooney, has moved over to help troubled ERP (enterprise resource planning) software vendor Baan put its financial house in order.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Baan announced Mooney's appointment as chief financial officer, and said the 19-year IBM veteran is also expected to serve on the Management Board, subject to shareholder approval.

Baan's current CFO, Klaas Wagenaar, will move over to take the position of executive vice president, operational and strategic initiatives. In a brief phone interview, Wagenaar stressed that he will remain active in the company's top management, saying that his role as chief financial officer, had always been intended to be temporary. "My heart lies in operations," he said.

Mooney is also expected to be nominated to Baan's Management Board, which shareholders just voted to enlarge to eight people, Wagenaar said.

In his new position, Wagenaar will coordinate the realignment of Baan's business along functional lines and serve as the link between the vendor's regional and country operations and its global functions, as well as identifying strategic partnerships and initiatives for the ERP vendor. For example, he will work on making sure that Baan's alliance with Microsoft, announced last year, is executed on a firm-wide level, Wagenaar said.

That is also part of his job of creating a more centralised corporate infrastructure. The moves reflect how Baan is becoming a more centrally-managed company, Wagenaar said. "We have come from a very decentralised model."

During Mooney's time at IBM, he played an important role in driving up profits and revenues, Baan said in yesterday's statement. He also helped with the re-engineering of IBM's business over the past five years, including the selling of IBM's reseller network and growing its services business, Baan said.

Those are skills which the software vendor could sorely use right now as it struggles to increase new business amid what industry analysts agree is a weakening market for ERP software. The Dutch-American software house has posted losses for the past two quarters, citing poor market conditions and costs associated with its firm-wide restructuring, designed to control costs and make Baan's finances more transparent.

In the fourth quarter of 1998, Baan posted a final net loss of $US295 million or $1.45 per diluted share, on net revenues of $131 million.

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