Progress Software Names New CEO

Progress Software's co-founder and CEO Joseph Alsop has resigned, and the infrastructure software vendor has named long-time company executive Richard Reidy to replace him.

Reidy, who joined the company in 1985, was one of the original developers of Progress' OpenEdge application development tools, and subsequently held a number of positions, most recently chief operating officer.

There had been a formal succession process in place "for many, many months" prior to Monday's announcement, Reidy said. Alsop, who co-founded Progress in 1981, is also planning to step down from the board but will remain a major shareholder, he added.

Reidy's major goal is to roughly double Progress' annual revenue to US$1 billion. He plans to do so by reorienting sales toward multiproduct suites, as well as aiming marketing messages more at business executives than IT workers.

The company also plans to grow through additional acquisitions, he said. In recent years, the company has scooped up a range of vendors, most recently Iona Technologies.

Progress also plans to market its CEP (complex event processing) software, now sold primarily to stock trading firms, to additional verticals, such as transportation logistics. Generally speaking, CEP software locates patterns and correlations amid the many electronic transactions or "events" that occur each day in a business, and takes certain actions depending on what is found.

Overall, Progress "has quite a few good assets in the SOA and integration markets," said ZapThink analyst Ronald Schmelzer via e-mail. "However, they are in many ways a second-tier vendor competing against the much more entrenched incumbents: IBM, Oracle, Software AG, HP and Microsoft."

Market consolidation, such as Oracle's purchase of BEA, has further cemented the position of the incumbents, Schmelzer added.

But this in turn "makes Progress continue to be a good second choice when end-users aren't first considering their existing incumbent vendors," he said. "Without Progress itself getting acquired by one of the 'big guys,' I don't see how this dynamic will change."

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