The Friday Interview: Ron Hovsepian, Novell

7 Jul 2006

This week’s Q&A session is with Ron Hovsepian (pictured), the new CEO of Novell.

In recent weeks you have replaced the previous incumbent Jack Messman as CEO of Novell in a move that also saw the departure of the company’s chief financial officer (CFO). What was the motive behind this decision?

What the board wanted to communicate was, given the status of the company, its technology vision and the IT business environment, leadership changes were necessary. It felt that now was the right time to bring in new leadership to accelerate our focus on the business software market.

In this new role what will be on your agenda?

My agenda is to make sure that Novell focuses on the simplification of technology and making operational excellence come to life for companies. This includes making software renewals easier for small and medium-sized businesses to empower their employees.

How important will Linux be to Novell going forward?

We are committed to our Linux strategy, particularly new products that will evolve out of our Code 10 release this month. Code 10 will focus on delivering a Linux enterprise story that transcends large corporate mainframes down to ordinary business servers, desktop computers and even bank teller machines. It is all about simplification of IT.

Novell has been increasing its focus on the desktop market in the past few years. How do you feel about squaring up to Microsoft?

Our Novel Linux Desktop products offer incredible value to the business and in my view are a powerful innovation statement from this company. Our SUSE Linux Desktop products sell for US$50 and are just as good as Microsoft’s Windows, which costs over US$500. I’m particularly excited about what this means for the marketplace.

Novell employs 125 people in Ireland. How is the Irish operation performing?

It is hard to quantify the leverage our Irish team has in Novell worldwide. I can reveal that Richard Commins of our Irish operation has just been promoted to the role of CFO for Europe. That should give you a good example of the role I see our Irish operation playing going forward.

By John Kennedy

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