Baan CFO Mooney Calls It Quits

The shakeout continues at Dutch-American business software vendor Baan Co. NV with the announcement today that Chief Financial Officer James Mooney will leave the company to pursue other opportunities.

Mooney will be replaced by Robert Ruijter, a former CFO of Philips Lighting, a division of Philips Electronics NV, Baan said in a statement.

The move comes only two weeks after the departure of former Chief Executive Officer Mary Coleman, and may further tarnish Baan's image. [See "UPDATE 2:

Baan CEO Departure Disappoints Analysts," Jan. 4.] Mooney, a former CFO of IBM Corp. for the Americas, spent less than a year with the company.

Baan Chief Marketing Officer Katrina Roche would make no further comment on the reasons for Mooney's departure.

Asked in a telephone interview today if the company was "becoming more European," Roche said the nationality of the specific employees was not an issue. Both Coleman and Mooney were part of the company's U.S. management team.

"We are focused on making sure we get the right people in the right jobs," said Roche, calling Ruijter "a great CFO who is well-respected in Europe."

Ruijter's first priority will be to focus on more aggressive cash management and restore investor confidence in Baan's cash and equity position, Roche said.

Rumors have been rife in financial markets that Baan, under a financial agreement that it has with Fletcher International Ltd., may not be able to draw down funds from Fletcher due to its low cash position. Roche denied that saying Baan's cash position is more than sufficient, and actually US$30 million higher than it reported for the fourth quarter of 1999.

Baan's new CFO will also address the task of "doing a better job of forecasting" sales from quarter to quarter, Roche said, which should allow for fewer disappointments for the financial markets.

Roche also promised a more aggressive style of outward communications on Baan's product strategy in coming weeks.

Baan is staying the course that Coleman set out for the company at BaanWorld in November, emphasizing a move into the business-to-business electronic commerce market, with an emphasis on manufacturing. [See "BAANWORLD: Baan Focus on Biz-to-Biz E-Commerce," Nov. 11, 1999.]This in no way means Baan is de-emphasizing its traditional ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, as some people have suggested, she said. "A key portion of e-fufillment is ERP. You cannot be successful without it," Roche said.

Baan, with dual headquarters, can be contacted in Barneveld, the Netherlands at +31-342-42-8888, and in Reston, Virginia at +1-703-234-6000, or at http://www.baan.com.

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