Ex-PeopleSoft CEO joins Salesforce.com board

Craig Conway brought in to help ASP compete with Oracle

PeopleSoft's dramatically ousted former chief executive officer (CEO), Craig Conway, is taking a small step back into the CRM software market -- and another jab at his nemesis, Oracle Corp. Hosted CRM (customer relationship management) provider Salesforce.com Inc. said Thursday that Conway will join its board of directors, effective immediately.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff praised Conway as a seasoned executive whose strong operational skills and knowledge of the CRM industry will benefit Salesforce.com. The San Francisco company is an increasingly fierce rival of Oracle Corp., which acquired PeopleSoft last year, soon after PeopleSoft's board dismissed Conway.

Conway's term as a Salesforce.com director runs through 2008. His appointment expands the company's board to seven members.

Conway has sat out from the IT industry since leaving PeopleSoft one year ago, at the height of its resistance to Oracle's hostile takeover bid.

Other top PeopleSoft executives have moved on to new positions in the software field. Former PeopleSoft Co-President Kevin Parker is now CEO of ERP (enterprise resource planning) software maker Deltek Systems Inc. PeopleSoft's other Co-President, Phil Wilmington, now serves as CEO of performance and business process management software developer OutlookSoft Corp. PeopleSoft founder Dave Duffield, who took over as CEO after Conway's firing, is building a new enterprise applications company called Workday.

Salesforce.com has been building up its executive team as it prepares to go head-to-head with larger vendors like Oracle and Microsoft Corp., which are eyeing the midmarket hosted applications space where Salesforce.com dominates. Last month, Salesforce.com named Accenture Ltd.'s retiring CRM practice managing director, John Freeland, to the newly created position of president of worldwide operations.