MapInfo sets execs for wireless boom

Location data and software company MapInfo is preparing for increased business as wireless technologies take off by beefing up its regional management structure. "This restructure follows the recent combination of MapInfo's operations for Australia and South-East Asia into one operating unit to capitalise on the rapid growth being experienced for MapInfo solutions in the wireless arena throughout the region, noted Trevor Westlake, vice president of MapInfo Asia/Pacific, who retains his title but takes added responsibilities as managing director of MapInfo Australia and South-East Asia.

"We wanted to make sure that we could scale quickly to encompass further penetration of growth markets and expand our customer-driven product portfolio into wireless, broadband and other innovations, not only in Australia but across the region - particularly in countries such as Malaysia, Korea and Singapore."

To provide Westlake with some muscle, Richard Lindsay has been promoted from managing director of the company's Australian operation to regional director of sales for Australia and South-East Asia.

Illness forces Brian Wood out of SAS

After fighting illness for two years Brian Wood, a long-time friend of The Rust Report, has been forced to accept he is not well enough to continue and to resign as South Pacific CEO of SAS Institute. One of the company's early Australian employees, Wood joined SAS 17 years ago as marketing manager, and took the managing director's chair in 1995. A statement issued by the company noted that while Wood feels he is recovering from the long bout of chronic fatigue syndrome, the illness had reduced his capacity to work.

While SAS looks for a replacement for Wood his position will be filled by Phil Beniac, SAS's Asia/Pacific vice president.

BHP rounds out leadership team

BHP Steel has rounded out its six member leadership team by appointing Kathryn Fagg vice president of fulfilment and market solutions. She joined the company from ANZ Banking Group where she had held a number of management positions, the most recent of which was managing director of global transaction services.

At BHP Steel she reports to the company president, Kirby Adams. The four other members of the BHP Steel portfolio leadership team (besides Adams and Fagg) are: Lance Hockridge, president of flat products;John Cleary, president of coated products;Warren Saxelby, vice president of finance; and Brad Mills, BHP chief strategic officer.

Around the traps

Colin Holgate, appointed CEO of solutions and services company Praxa in September, has made his presence felt with a restructuring that has led to the retrenchment of 63 of the company's staff of about 500. It was claimed the departing staff were mostly from administrative positions. At the time of Holgate's appointment Praxa was split into three sections:

Praxa Technology under Andrew Munro as general manager;Praxa Business Solutions, with Tim Foreman as general manager; andPraxa Digital Media group under Brian Walshe.

The board of Mid-East Minerals, soon to be renamed Tomorrow and dragged by new CEO Wayne Bos into the "new economy" has undergone some changes at board and executive level. Wayne Passlow has resigned from the board in order to concentrate on the US activities of his Open Telecommunications. Coming into the company are Alan Studley, former COO of Sausage Software (where Bos had been managing director) who will become COO of Tomorrow, and Chris Leptos, former CEO of Southrock who will take the helm of the Tomorrow companies "in an interim capacity".

Brendan Redden has retired as a director and chairman of the board of Solution 6, and John Burrows, a non-executive director, has been appointed acting chairman while the board is reconstituted and a new chairman appointed.

Doors far away

A loud thump coming from the direction of London could be the sound of hundreds of doors slamming at ICL. Reports from the UK indicate that Fujitsu is taking a carving knife to its British subsidiary and that about 100 senior managers have already been asked to leave because they had become distracted by ICL's attempts to launch an IPO. The float was cancelled by Fujitsu and the then CEO Keith Todd resigned in August. It is believed the ICL board will meet next week to discuss the extent of the restructuring.

US markets are getting spooked by senior level departures from Oracle and chopped 13 per cent of the company's share price last week on the news that Gary Bloom, an executive vice president in charge of database development, had retired. He will leave the company on December 15 to become CEO of Veritas Software, a US company that develops storage management software. Ray Lane, former president and COO of Oracle resigned in July.

Troubled speech technology company Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products suffered a further blow this week when founder Pol Hauspie and two other board members resigned as Belgian prosecutors announced they would investigate the company. The manager of L&H in Korea, Joo Chul Seo, has also been removed from office as the company's business dealings and bookkeeping in South-East Asia come under review. Just a week earlier Jo Lernout and Hauspie stepped down from their positions as co-chairman and managing directors because of the controversy.

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