CA World felt a bit like American Idol -- Sanjay was gone, but his impact lingered over the proceedings. Of course, that's where the parallels between the recently dumped Idol longshot and the company's embattled former CEO end.
For current CEO John Swainson, putting the $2.2 billion accounting scandal involving former CEO Sanjay Kumar behind him and his company was an unwelcome but necessary duty at CA's first major conference since Kumar's troubles came to light.
Swainson kept an even keel at a press conference in Las Vegas on Monday, even earning a few laughs as he fielded questions, only half of which had to do with his company's problematic history.
"We want to talk less about the past and more about the future," Swainson said in response to the first question concerning CA's recovery from its recent troubles.
Swainson had the audience chuckling at his response to a question about CA's compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
"We, like every U.S. company, have had to certify our financials in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley rules. It's been more difficult for us because of our history. But in the process of correcting our own internal environment, which is one I wouldn't recommend to anyone, well, nevertheless, it's been useful to us."
Swainson treaded carefully when discussing the CA board's special litigation committee's (SLC) recent accusation that Kumar's predecessor, Charles Wang, had also engaged in fraudulent accounting.
"I'm not a lawyer, so all of my comments should be taken with grain of salt," Swainson said. "The board is not the intended recipient of the report, the court is. The next step is to have the court accept the report. We hope and expect that the court will find in the direction that the SLC wanted."
Swainson took several questions that had little to do with the company's troubles, but the discussion returned to those issues repeatedly during the hour-long press conference. When asked about the company's lack of growth in recent years, Swainson answered wryly.
"During the period of stagnation, two important things happened. The industry as a whole went through a downturn starting in about 2001, and we changed our accounting model from an upfront model to a different one," he said.
Asked to comment on Friday's passage by the House of Representatives of H.R. 1257, an amendment to the Securities Exchange Act that would provide shareholders with an advisory vote on executive compensation, Swainson said he'd rather wait to see what the Senate did with the controversial bill.
"It's premature to comment on something that is not yet legislation," he said.