Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Net-Linx's Launch Leaders Taking Off

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Net-Linx's Launch Leaders Taking Off

Article excerpt

Architect of Publishing Solutions division exits with three other top executives, including its strategic planning vice president

Barely more than a year old, software developer net-linx AG's Publishing Solutions division lost four top executives last month, including the one who put together the deal creating the division and was asked to oversee the new unit, the industry veteran tapped to run the operation, its chief financial officer, and its planning chief.

Created last summer through the acquisition and merger of System Integrators Inc. (SII) and CText Inc., and including the CompuText technology already acquired by SII, the new business quickly narrowed the focus of development on editorial systems at SII's headquarters in Sacramento, Calif., and ad systems at CText's offices in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Besides its Dresden, Germany, headquarters, net-linx also has a directory- solutions division in Edmonton, Alberta, and operations in Malaysia.

Industry consultant William Solimeno, the dealmaker behind the new division, and former Autologic President and Vice Chairman Dennis Doolittle, who served as the division's chief operating officer, left the company for unspecified "personal" reasons, along with Chief Financial Officer Gordon Jones. At about the same time but for unrelated personal reasons, Strategic Planning Vice President Eugene J. Kiel -- the CText development and marketing executive who created its earlier ad system -- resigned to accept a position with the Gale Group, Thomson Corp.'s electronic publisher of references for libraries. Other managers from the acquired companies remain, including Chief Technology Officer Jimmy Connell, who founded CompuText.

Though the reason for the others' departures seemed work-related, Kiel said it was genuinely personal and that the announcement of their resignations not a cover for dissatisfaction with performance, though he declined to disclose precisely what led to their decisions.

As for himself, the longtime CText employee was recruited by a former Thomson Newspapers customer at Nexpo for a Gale position at offices near his home. It required no constant travel, said Kiel, and was an "opportunity to do something that'll have a greater impact on society."

Announcing the departures, CEO Holm Hallbauer said net-linx was prepared "to deliver a more focused local presence in each of its major markets by streamlining activities in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, and Germany," though leaving unchanged other overseas regional offices and distribution channels.

In the current business climate, net-linx will "structure the company the way they best see it," said a net-linx user's systems manager, who asked not to be named and was not surprised that net-linx veterans replaced those who saw the division through its first year. He viewed Solimeno strictly "as a money man" and dealmaker.

For the company and its customers, the manager predicted, any impact of changes made now will not be felt for another two years. For reasons of geography and politics, not product origin, he's betting the division will select Ann Arbor as its only headquarters. To get past persisting notions of SII and CText, he said, a mental as well as material merger is the long-term goal, "to make people net-linx aware."

"I think they've done their shake-out. …

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