Exec exodus hits Lotus

Lotus Development Corp. confirmed yesterday that several top executives plan to leave the groupware software maker in the coming weeks.

The IBM subsidiary will soon lose its top development boss, John Throckmorton, executive vice president of worldwide development and support. Last July, Lotus reshuffled its org chart, placing Throckmorton in charge of Internet applications, communications and knowledge management product development. His management team includes Brian Bell, senior vice president of knowledge management, who also plans to depart, and Jeanette Horan, vice president of communications product development.

At that time, officials said the reorganisation was undertaken to meet operational and market goals and to protect the company's lead in collaboration software. Lotus Notes/Domino and cc:Mail have been dominant in the e-mail market but have met increasing competitive pressure from Microsoft's Exchange Server. Lotus claims that its installed base is 50 million seats, compared with 33 million for Exchange.

Lotus will also lose two top sales executives: James Feiger, its executive vice president of worldwide field operations, and Mike Laginski, senior vice president of North America. Lotus officials would not comment on the departures.

Horan will take on the role of acting executive vice president of development. Pierre Van Beneden will relocate from Paris to Cambridge to head sales, officials confirmed.

In February, CEO Jeff Papows stepped down and Al Zollar, a 23-year IBM veteran, took his place. Lotus has been an IBM subsidiary since 1995.

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