March 18, 2005 10:50 AM PST

Sun services chief to step down

Marissa Peterson, a 17-year Sun Microsystems employee who just celebrated her first anniversary leading its services division, is stepping down and eventually leaving the server and software company altogether, CNET News.com has learned.
peterson
Marissa Peterson

Peterson will work on a "proprietary" project for Sun, continuing to report to President Jonathan Schwartz, company spokeswoman Stephanie Von Allmen confirmed Friday. "At the conclusion of the project, Marissa will be leaving us," Schwartz said in a memo seen by CNET News.com.

Von Allmen declined to detail the project, but said that Peterson will stay at Sun through the end of 2005.

"She recently explained to me that she's ready for the next big challenge in her career outside of Sun, and she's confident she's making the right choice for herself and the company," Schwartz said in the memo. Peterson hasn't yet decided on her next career move, Von Allmen said.

Peterson left her mark on Sun's services group. "She led the organization to consistent overachievement against plan of revenue (and) contribution margin in the last three quarters, including hitting the first services billion-dollar quarter for Sun," Schwartz said in the memo.

But that progress hasn't rescued the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company overall in the wake of the dot-com crash and later economic slump. Sun has returned to profitability after more than three years of trying to regain its footing, but its stock price and revenue have remained largely flat. The company has yet to see many results from several ambitious new initiatives.

Among other executives who have left Sun in recent months are Shahin Khan, who left for Java acceleration start-up Azul Systems; Rob Gingell, who left for computing automation software company Cassatt; Marge Breya, who left for Java software maker BEA Systems; John Fanelli, who left for embedded software company Wind River Systems; and Peder Ulander, who left for embedded Linux company MontaVista Software.

Before joining Sun, Peterson worked at Booz Allen Hamilton and held marketing, financial and engineering positions at General Motors' Saturn division.

Schwartz won't replace Peterson. Instead, two executives who had been under Peterson will report directly to Schwartz: Don Grantham, senior vice president of global customer services, and Eugene McCabe, senior vice president of worldwide operations.

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Special Projects = "You're Demoted"
Anytime you go from management to a "special project" it means you've been demoted. Of course we've yet to see if Schwartz is capable or incompetent, but based on the mass exodus at Sun my money is on the latter.
Posted by (274 comments )
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i don't think so
YOU ARE FIRED!!!!.... kind of..... in nine months... then... you... will... be... FIRED.... maybe.
Posted by mortis9 (370 comments )
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Could be, then again...
We had a term for those who fell out of favor at Sun in the old days (pre-boom) called "being mothballed" typically you were removed of any staff (except for an admin) and moved to an office in some far-away building. You had no purpose, no tasks, nothing. You were encouraged to leave basically.

This doesn't sound the same. However the management purges are still on-going to remove the remaining Ed Zander drones still holding onto power. This is a GOOD thing.

Sun's middle management continues to be a drain on the company and needs a good shake up. The ugly fact is, that dispite many rounds of layoffs, the deadwood everyone wants to purge usually survives the longest. Continued shake-ups and re-orgs are the only way to break their hold and finally rid the company of their life-force sapping grip.

keep up the good work Jonathan! Get Sun back into the innovative youthfull company it once was again. Have fun and kick some deadwood middle management butt!!
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