Baan Australia not hit by US `disaster'

Baan Australia not hit by US `disaster'

Whilst some analysts have argued that the resignation of Baan's US CEO signals the further demise of the company, Australia/NZ MD Gerhard Rumpff says the move will have little impact on local operations.

Although the company will close 14 US offices and is reducing its workforce by 4 per cent, neither R&D nor customer support will be affected in the Asia-Pacific region, Rumpff claimed.

`The US operation performed extremely badly and needs some looking at . . . but, on a local basis, this does not affect us at all. We hired five people over the last two weeks, and plan to hire another five over the next three or four.'

He said the resignation of the company's chairman and CEO of only seven months, Mary Coleman, was due to incompatibility between her executive experience and the demands of the role. Coleman was previously CEO of Silicon Valley software startup Aurum, which Baan acquired in 1997.

`She possibly felt more comfortable doing that [running a startup] than running a reasonably sized software company needing to reassert itself in the marketplace,' Rumpff said.

Analysts see Coleman's departure as yet another blow to the troubled software vendor, which many were convinced she could turn around.

`I think it's a disaster. She was the only person I was optimistic about in the company,' said Joshua Greenbaum, principle with Enterprise Applications Consulting in California.

Baan has incurred global losses for the last five quarters, amid restructuring and a drop off in revenues for its core enterprise resource planning (ERP) business. In October, Baan reported a net global loss of $US25 million, or 12 cents per share, as well as significantly lower year-on-year revenue for the third quarter, ended September 30.

Rumpff said Baan expected a new CEO would be appointed early in Q2 of this year, after which time US operations would `pick up'.

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