In the first quarter of 2010, the technology industry witnessed two internal board appointments of non-CEOs.
Compuware announced Robert C. Paul's election to the company's Board of Directors. Paul, 47, has served as President and COO of Compuware since 2008. Since taking this position, he has returned Compuware to revenue and margin growth. Peter J. Carmanos, 66, founder, remains as Compuware's CEO.
RealNetworks' board appointed Kimball, 46, as president and acting CEO after founder Rob Glaser, 47, stepped down as chief executive. Kimball was appointed to the board of directors. Glaser will remain chairman of the Board of Directors.
Sometimes the board position is a consolation prize for an exec who was vying-but not selected-as CEO. This type of appointment increases the power at the next level of management. There are several examples of this trend in the first quarter of 2010.
In Paul's case, Compuware's board is recognizing his increased role and the results of his turnaround efforts as COO. But the CEO spot remains firmly in the hands of the company's founder. In Kimball's case, the board continues to search for a permanent CEO, but appointed him to the board in light of his continuing strategic contributions to the company as interim CEO.
Consolidation of Power
Another noteworthy trend is the consolidation of power of the Chair and CEO roles. There's nothing like an emergency situation to consolidate power into experienced hands.
One recent example is CA Chairman of the Board William McCracken taking over as CEO. Another example is PTC separating the positions of CEO and president and appointing C. Richard Harrison, 53, as Chairman and CEO of the company and James Hepplemann, 44, as president and COO. And Hasso Plattner at SAP is widely viewed as taking the helm although the CEO role is now split into the inside/outside leadership. This is also happening at Xerox where the Chair and CEO roles go to Ursula Burns.
CIOs Land on Software Boards
A third trend worth exploring this quarter is CIOs landing on technology boards. We've seen this at Compuware, EMC, ActivIdentity and Riverbed Technologies in the past few months alone. Compuware actually expanded the board size by one seat to make room for the new executive.
Risk is no longer just financial. Technology risk and a customer's perspective are two driving forces behind this trend, as solutions get increasingly complex, and as organizations increasingly rely on technology to operate.