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Walking Tall and Carrying a Big Stick
Chordiant's new CEO brings in top talent to grow its U.S. sales.
For the rest of the February 2002 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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With just two months under his belt as the new CEO of Chordiant Software Inc., Stephen Kelly's major plan is to raise the customer interaction vendor's quiet profile in the United states market.

Kelly was promoted in December to the CEO position from president and COO. Sam Spadafora who was CEO, retained the title of chairman of the board.

Kelly's mandate is to move Chordiant on a fast growth track by raising the level of exposure and the number of new accounts the company has in the U.S., because 70 percent of its revenues come from Europe. The company is looking to have at least 50 percent of its revenue to come from within the U.S.

To help steer the plans for new growth and penetration of Chordiant 5- -the company's latest product release based on J2EE and XML architecture- -Kelly has beefed up the company's management with seasoned software industry executives who have been in key positions at guiding fast growth at Oracle Corp. and Siebel Systems Inc.

One of his first official acts was to appoint Jeremy Coote, formerly general manager of Siebel North America, to president of Chordiant's North American operations, and name Paul Burrin, formerly senior vice president of corporate marketing at Oracle, as senior vice president of marketing. Burrin will head up the company's go-to-market strategy and direct the worldwide field marketing, corporate communications, and branding activities.

Kelly says an executive search had been in the works to fill in the positions in late August, but he decided to accelerate the process by personally calling the two executives. "I called them and told them that this was a good opportunity to join a company that has momentum," he says.

"We are the best kept secret and it's about to change," says Kelly, adding that he is confident of getting through the growth challenges in raising Chordiant's level of penetration with seasoned executives such as Coote and Burrin, who both have been with firms that were on aggressive growth tracks.

Denis Pombriant, research director of CRM at the Aberdeen Group Inc., applauds the hired guns Chordiant has brought in. "The addition of these two highly experienced leaders to the Chordiant management team is a major statement," he says.

To increase its coverage in the U.S., Chordiant also will change the formula of its indirect sales structure. Currently, 20 percent of the company's revenue comes from partners such as consultants and integrators, and Kelly says he wants to change that to about 30 percent. Chordiant had revenues of about $75 million in 2001.

Chordiant 5 is a key to the company's business strategy in the enterprise. Brendan Abbott, product manager of Chordiant Foundation Source, says the product's functionality is appealing to CIOs.

In addition, Chordiant 5 software also has a new vertical module aimed at the insurance industry that helps streamline the intake process for filling out information online. "It's a new application that leverages our entire framework," Kelly says

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