Taking a short break from Enterprise 2.0 coverage, I had to acknowledge the news on Sapient today. I received a flash alert from Sapient’s investor team that, “SAPIENT NAMES ALAN HERRICK PRESIDENT AND CEO.” The bulletin went on to explain that co-founder Jerry Greenberg had resigned. Stuart Moore, the other co-founder is still a board member, but gave up his position as co-chairman in order to allow for an independent chairman (now, Jeffrey M. Cunningham). The company also named Joseph S. Tibbetts Jr. as the new CFO, replacing Susan Cooke who was interim CFO and who also resigned today.
Reading the press release, it appears Sapient is in hot water over options-dating, I suppose. Is this the 2.0 crime du jour? Why, everybody’s doing it! Not just Silicon Valley hotshots, but now a company like Sapient, that heretofore, I believed was basically infallible.
Sheesh. I’m not sure I’m more disappointed this happened or if I didn’t know anything about it because I’ve taken my eye off the IT Services ball. Some ITSinsider! Well, the good news is Dan Farber agreed to give me a ZDNet blog on IT Services, so I hope I will be catching up fast.
I put out a number of calls on this Sapient news, and haven’t heard back from anyone yet. I talked to Sapient, but the PR woman really couldn’t tell me anything more than was in the release. The news troubles me. I once wrote a column about what makes an IT Services firm successful, and Sapient gets high marks for all my criteria. I’m sure the company will weather the storm, but when founder CEOs leave, it generally doesn’t go well. My guess is we’ll see a merger/acquisition on the horizon.
Incidentally, Jerry Greenberg is a Jersey boy. He grew up in a small town here in South Jersey not too far (or too dissimilar) from the town I live in today. He made it to Harvard out of there majoring in Economics, he then worked at Cambridge Technology Partners, and started Sapient with Stuart Moore in 1991. Moore was a Computer Science grad out of UC Berkeley. In the day, Moore led one of the first client/server implementations on Wall Street and managed one of the largest installations of Sybase.
I admired Sapient for many things… including the choice of naming Susan Cooke as interim CFO. Imagine that? A woman who can talk numbers and face the investment community.
So, we’ll see what happens. For me, it’s the end of an era.