Jeff Papows has resigned as president and chief executive officer of Lotus Development, effective February 1, a company spokesman has confirmed.
Al Zollar, general manager of the company's network computing software division, will take over as president and CEO on February 1. Papows will stay with Lotus until some unspecified time in the second quarter of this year to assist with the transition.
Lotus is a subsidiary of IBM , which bought the software vendor in 1995.
In April of last year, the Wall Street Journal published a detailed story contending that Papows repeatedly lied about his personal history. The newspaper alleged, quoting multiple named and unnamed sources, that Papows padded his resume, embellished his military rank, concocted tales about daring feats when he was in the US Marine Corps and on reserve duty, and lied about his personal history.
Lotus officials and Papows denied the claims, saying some stories of his daring adventures were the outcome of "water-cooler legend" concocted by employees who idolised Papows.
But a month later, it was clear that not all employees held Papows in such exalted status. In May, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) confirmed that Lotus was the target of several discrimination complaints, some of which specifically named Papows. One case that named him was a gender-bias claim alleging that Papows and his executive assistant Sharon Ricci singled out female employees and treated them poorly.
Arlene Greene, who had been a Lotus general manager, reportedly filed the claim. She was fired in October of 1998 after working at Lotus for 11 years and was told that her termination was part of company-wide job cuts, the Journal reported. Greene contended that she was dismissed after she complained about gender and age bias at the company.
Lotus officials countered that the complaint was "without merit" and contained "reckless and unfounded allegations."
Papows had been Lotus chief operating officer in October 1996 when he was named sole president. For almost a year, he shared that title with Michael Zisman, who stepped down in October 1996 for personal reasons. The co-presidents took over the company after the resignation of Jim Manzi. Before joining Lotus in 1993, Papows was president and COO of Cognos