Novell appoints former IBM, Lucent exec as new CTO

Jeffrey Jaffe will head up Novell's technology direction

Novell has appointed former IBM veteran Jeffrey Jaffe as the company's new chief technology officer. Jaffe, most recently president at Lucent Technologies' Bell Laboratories, will head up Novell's technology direction and will lead the company's product business units, according to a Novell announcement Tuesday.

"Jaffe will oversee all of product development," a Novell spokesman wrote in an e-mail response to questions. Reporting to the new CTO will be David Patrick, Novell's vice president for Linux, open-source products, and services, and Kent Erickson, the company's vice president for identity products.

Markus Rex, Novell's CTO for Linux, open-source platforms and services, will continue in his current role working for Patrick, while Carlos Montero-Luque, will stay as CTO for identity, reporting to Erickson, according to the Novell spokesman.

"The existing product development structures don't change internally," the spokesman wrote in his e-mail. "They just now report into Jeff Jaffe instead of to Ron Hovsepian." At the end of October, Hovsepian, previously executive vice president and president of Novell's global field operations, was promoted to the number-two spot as president and chief operating officer, a role that hadn't existed at Novell since 2002.

In a 20-year career at IBM, Jaffe held various research roles including vice president of systems and software and corporate vice president of technology. He joined Lucent in 2000 and was most recently president of its research and development arm, Bell Labs Research and Advanced Technologies. In that role, he set up new facilities in Ireland and India.

Jaffe has strong links to the U.S. government, advising a number of administrations on policies related to technology. In 1997, U.S. President Bill Clinton appointed Jaffe to the Advisory Committee for the President's Commission for Critical Infrastructure Protection. Jaffe also chaired the Chief Technology Officer Group of the Computer Systems Policy Project, which is made up of 12 of the leading computer and telecommunications companies.

In an interview with IDG News Service in January in Bangalore, Jaffe explained that he and his team at Bell Labs were working to get carrier-grade capability into open-source components for telecommunications companies.

There's been a number of shake-ups in Novell's upper management this year as the company struggles to execute the turnaround envisioned by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Messman. Novell is trying to focus on three key business areas -- Linux, identity and resource management software. Novell announced earlier this month that it plans to lay off 600 of its 5,800-strong global workforce.

In March, Alan Nugent, Novell's CTO, announced he was leaving the company and joined CA in April as the head of its Unicenter systems management software business. Then, in May, Richard Seibt, head of Novell's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations and the former CEO of Suse, quit the company. Around the same time, Debra Bergevine, the vendor's chief marketing officer, also left Novell. Earlier this month, Hubert Mantel, one of the four co-founders of Suse, resigned from Novell.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.