Less than a month following its acquisition of Pathlore Software Corp., a competitor in Columbus, Ohio, SumTotal Systems, a learning and business performance technology and service provider in Mountain View, Calif., has announced the resignation of CEO R. Andrew Eckert. Board chair Donald Fowler will serve as an interim replacement for Eckert, who left to accept a CEO position in a different industry.
Eckert's departure isn't a commentary on the state of the company, says Josh Bersin, CEO of Bersin & Associates, an Oakland, Calif.,-based e-learning technology and implementation consultancy. He says that Eckert had most likely planned in advance to leave the company around this time. "It was probably his intention to get the company big and dominant enough to leave and for another executive to come in," says Bersin. "It was probably a personal decision for him because he wanted to take a bigger job in another city," he guesses of Eckert, who has taken a job as president and CEO of Eclipsys Corp., a Boca Raton, Fla.,-based provider of clinical, financial and management information software to the healthcare industry.
Eckert's resignation comes at a time when the company already has a hefty to-do list, "stitching together a tapestry of products" from the 2004 merger of e-learning providers Click2learn and Docent as well as that of Pathlore. Eckert, previously CEO of Docent, became CEO of SumTotal in 2004 following the merger. The new CEO will have to oversee the integration of Pathlore customers to the SumTotal software platform.
A key to success will be making the complex offering understandable to training buyers, Bersin points out. "It's an opportunity to bring somebody in who has done this before," he says. —M.W.