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CA Succession Battle: Conspiracy Theories Run Riot
CA Succession Battle: Conspiracy Theories Run Riot

Late last week Computer Associates was supposedly going to name a permanent CEO in 30 days.

Now, right away it was apparent that something was wrong with that picture.

Why the heck it would take the board 30 days if all they were going to do was enthrone the interim occupant Ken Cron?

By Tuesday morning, when CA decided to fire 800 people, the prospective coronation had moved out to 30-45 days.

Obviously the mystery candidate that the search committee had reportedly come up with was gaining ground, and Cron, who got the company through the last few months and now wants the job after being initially indifferent, is going to have to arm wrestle him and his sponsors for it.

It also became obvious from little tidbits that were turning up in the Wall Street Journal that somebody on the board - heck, maybe somebody on the search committee - was setting it up to push Cron out.

This kind of stuff is catnip to a company as politicized as CA is right now and has set off a torrent of water cooler speculation.

Our favorite, utterly delicious for being so Byzantine, goes like this.

The search committee is currently composed of ex-EDS vice-chairman Gary Fernandez and Harvard governance god Jay Lorsch.

The mystery candidate, described in the press as a "senior executive at a high-technology company," is Gary's boy.

Gary wants to be chairman of CA. That means he has to push out CA's current chairman Lew Ranieri, who's backing Cron.

Fernandez is close to Sam Wily, the guy who tried to oust CA's duopoly Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar in a proxy fight a few years ago.

Wily took CA stock when CA bought his company in 2001 and proceeded to watch its value sink thanks to CA's cooked books scandal. He has an old score to settle.

Fernandez is Wily's cat's paw. If Fernandez's boy gets in and Fernandez is chairman, Wily will get control of CA without firing another shot.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Wily back in control. What a cool concept! The customers and investers would benefit greatly were it the case.

stupid story - how can u totally make up stuff. u think ppl r fools.

So, Wily is the mastermind...who's the actual candidate though?

Newsday.com likes Leo Apotheker, SAP's global field operations president and an SAP executive board member, for the job.




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