Board of Directors

Boards are a critical component of business. They provide credibility, leadership, oversight, auditing, mentorship, and accountability to both public and private companies. The primary responsibility of the board of directors is to protect the shareholders' investment and ensure they receive a return on their investment. Unfortunately Boards have gone through a long period of being thought of as rubber stamp committees, but with changes in laws, accounting standards, and business practices, Boards are again taking on the role they were intended as serious value contribution centers made up of mature, experienced executives who can help companies avoid costly mistakes, as well as provide leadership for growth.

I have been a CEO of 5 companies, both pubic and private, and therefore have extensive experience from the CEO’s perspective of what makes a great Director. I have also served on 11 Boards as a member of management or as an independent Director and always found that my technical acumen, along with my experience, vision and leadership with international sales and marketing, M&A, and strategic partnerships has provided great value. I have been fortunate to have worked with some great Board members who mentored me: Ben Rosen, L.J. Sevin, Berry Cash, Jon Bayless, Tony LeVecchio, Stan Whitcomb, John Tate, Mike Maples, Gary Stimac, Michael Swavely, and many others. I am indebted to all of these men for their mentoring and advice. It is because of the great value these Board members provided me that I know I can provide value on other Boards to their CEO’s and Directors.

Key Board Experience:

  • Alpha Bay
    • The first software company to offer cloud based, real-time, retail systems to F500 retailers
    • Strategic sale to F500 DISH Network/Blockbuster
  • Borland
    • Leading provider of desktop applications like Quattro Pro and highly successful development tools such as Pascal and C in the early days of the PC
    • Led dramatic growth in stock valuation
  • Dynix
    • International provider of world class enterprise software systems called ILS, Integrated Library Systems, with over 14,000 customers in more than 40 countries
    • Strategic sale to Private Equity backed competitor
  • MobileWare
    • The first company to provide email, web browsing, database access from notebook computers prior to digital cellular networks, using analog cellphones
    • Strategic acquisition by Itochu Techno-Science, a multi-billion dollar Japanese Telco
  • Raindance Communications
    • One of the first SaaS companies to go public providing voice, data, and video conferencing as a pay-as-you-go service
    • Successful IPO
  • SirsiDynix
    • Merger of Sirsi and Dynix ILS vendors to form the largest ILS vendor in the world with over 26,000 customers in more than 70 countries
    • Successful strategic sale to Vista Equity Partners
  • TeleComputing
    • The first international ASP company to provide ERP solutions to hundreds of customers around the world as managed services
    • Successful European IPO

Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer is the most important management role in a company. The CEO is responsible to set the vision, strategy, and culture of an organization. The CEO is the highest ranking corporate executive, whose main responsibilities include developing and implementing high-level strategies, making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors and the corporate operations. The CEO has a position on the Board and is often the Chairman of the Board.

The CEO is responsible to hire and manage the entire executive management team, and to see that they truly function as a team. I understand the meaning of the word TEAM and I make it a priority to unify a management team around a vision and strategy that empowers them to be more effective leaders. I also have a vast network of talented executives that I can draw from to enhance a management team. In addition to successful turn-arounds, I consider the development of senior talent as an area of significant accomplishment. I have mentored hundreds of employees to achieve career advancement and depth. I helped a Director of Sales advance through four companies to become an accomplished CEO, a Director of Business Development mature through three companies to become CTO. A Director of Finance to a very successful CFO.

Warren Buffet once said, “Sometimes CEOs clearly do not belong in their jobs; their positions, nevertheless, are usually secure. The supreme irony of business management is that it is far easier for an inadequate CEO to keep his job than it is for an inadequate subordinate.” Unfortunately, the damage an inadequate CEO can do is dramatically greater than their subordinates. What is even more shocking is that Forbes and other business magazines regularly report on the worst performing CEO’s based on stock value, revenues and profits of public companies, yet most of those CEO’s remain in office until they decide to retire. The reality is that CEO’s report to the Board of Directors, and continued declines in stock value, revenues and profits should drive Boards to take action to bring in a turn-around CEO.

A successful turn-around business brings even more requirements and challenges with it than a normal business. In addition to the challenges of creating a vision and strategy for growth, my experience has shown me that a turn-around CEO must do this while cutting costs, resolving customer problems, gaining support of shareholders, winning over disgruntled employees, and resolving relations with banks and creditors.

The technology market has become a mature industry and more companies are now in need of a turn-around CEO than ever before. Changes in the economy and expansion of worldwide competition have put most mature technology companies into declining revenues, profits, and valuations.

I have been involved in several successful turn-around companies and attribute my success to three major factors.

First was my seven years at IBM where I had the benefit of being involved in all aspects of the business, and worked with great executives like Jim Cannavino, Mike Maples, and many others. I had the opportunity to attend dozens of classes in management training, and participated in strategic product launches and acquisitions. I think of those years as getting an MBA and PhD on the job at IBM.

The second and possibly more significant was my opportunity to report to Ray Noorda, Chairman and CEO of Novell for seven years. Ray was recruited from GE where he had spent his entire career, and was an EVP and peer to Jack Welch. Ray had been brought in by Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. to turn-around Novell, and he recruited me from IBM to help him.

The third factor is the relationship and experiences I gained partnering with all the great technology companies throughout my career. During my seven years at Novell, I traveled over 3 million miles, doing business in over 30 countries. I had the opportunity to work with some of the great CEOs of technology, including Steve Jobs, at the time CEO of NeXT Computer, Rod Canion, CEO at Compaq, and Andy Grove, the CEO at Intel. I worked with Scott McNealy, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, and Ken Olson, founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation. I met with Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft and formed a strategic partnership between Novell and Microsoft, beginning the term “coopetition”. Later I formed a partnership with Bill at MobileWare, and had the unique opportunity for my daughter and I to have a five-minute segment in Microsoft’s first thirty-minute infomercial launching Windows 95. I worked closely with Larry Elson to create a strategic partnership with Novell that led to the launch of Oracle NLM for Netware 386. And the list goes on and on. With Ray’s support, I put together over one thousand partnerships for Novell and worked with over one thousand CEOs around the world. I consider Ray to have been one of the most brilliant businesses men I have ever met. He was not only my boss, but my mentor, and my friend, and I owe him deeply for the time, leadership, and opportunities he gave me.

Key Management Experience:

  • SVP Novell
    • Recruited by CEO to assist in his strategic turn-around efforts
    • Helped to create strategy to transform company from hardware vendor with low margins to software vendor with high margins
    • Led International expansion, business development and M&A
    • Company grow from $80M to $2B
  • CEO Dynix
    • Recruited by Board of Directors as turn-around CEO
    • Mature company had achieved $100M in revenues but had declined to $35M
    • Achieved launch of first cloud based ILS system and increased sales by 300%
    • 400+% increase in valuation in just three years in a stagnant market
    • Strategic sale to Private Equity owned competitor Sirsi
  • CTO & EVP TeleComputing
    • Recruited by CEO and Board of Directors as turn-around expert
    • Led the launch of new products and grew sales rapidly
    • Led successful IPO with CEO and achieved $120M market cap
  • CEO MobileWare
    • Recruited by Board of Directors as turn-around CEO
    • Successfully transformed company from hardware vendor to software service provider
    • Led strategic sale of company to F500 telecommunications company
  • CEO Alpha Bay
    • Founder and visionary leadership to create world’s first cloud based real-time enterprise retail system supporting full mobile functionality over 3G networks running on Windows CE, Android and iOS
    • Strategic sale to F500 satellite network giant
  • COO Raindance
    • Recruited by CEO as a turn-around expert
    • Company in negative cash flow and stock price was in free fall
    • Transformed business to profitability in first quarter
    • Launched new SaaS based data and video conferencing service in conjunction with existing teleconferencing service
    • Grew sales and stock valuation dramatically

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