Novell Names Ron Hovsepian To Succeed Jack Messman as CEO

Continuing the recent rash of high level departures, Jack Messman has been ousted by the Novell board. Taking his place is long time IBM'er Ron Hovsepian. The market reacted well to the news, with NOVL up over 10% on the press release (although still down sharply for the year). I think it's clear that Messman just wasn't the right guy to turn Novell around. He didn't seem to understand their Linux/OSS strategy very well and the company was subject to a fair amount of internal strife (with multiple high profile departures, including the Suse founder) and a lack of overall vision and direction. The prospects seem to be better for Hovsepian from what I've read, which should be encouraging for Novell. He had the following to say:
“Going forward, we will maintain a sharp focus on meeting customer demand and delivering value through Linux-based, enterprise-wide solutions and identity and resource management products. We have innovative technology, a strong roster of customers and business partners and an extremely talented group of employees. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our business partners and customers.”
They have some nice products, but have failed to gain real traction compared to Red Hat. They seem to want to focus more on the Linux desktop, while Red Hat has all but abandoned that in favor of the enterprise server market. Which will work out better in the long term is unclear at this point. The Linux market, however, is eager to have two solid performers to avoid the pitfalls that became clear with the Microsoft monopoly. How much time remains for Novell before someone else steps up as the clear number two remains to be seen.
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