Novell's earnings may hold key to management changes

Novell's earnings may hold key to management changes

The backdrop for Novell's recent management changes may become clearer after the company reports its earnings this week.

Earlier in the week, Novell announced that chief operating officer Stewart Nelson will be leaving the company next month, while Christopher Stone is returning in the newly created position of vice chairman, office of the CEO.

Stone worked at Novell from 1997 to 1999 as the executive vice president for strategy and development before leaving to start his own company, Massachusetts-based Tilion. According to a statement by Tilion, Stone will be staying on as chairman of the Tilion board.

Novell said Stone will begin his duties on March 4 and will report directly to CEO Jack Messman. Messman took over as CEO in November, right before the company announced it was laying off 1400 employees.

The true meaning of the recent management shuffling will probably become clearer after Novell's quarterly earnings are announced, said F. Drake Johnstone at Virginia-based Davenport & Company.

Johnstone said that Novell's financial results and what its plans are would help provide a clearer context for the changes.

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