Shaheen Assumes CEO Post After Siebel Fires Lawrie

Shaheen was long on buzz phrases and short on specifics when he addressed investors and analysts during last week's conference call. But financial analysts, frustrated by the lack of solid information presented during the call, could not shake Shaheen from his message of pursuing "customer value" as well as "sizing our infrastructure and related costs to our business."

One thing that Shaheen did make clear: He is not the interim CEO. But he would not discuss potential strategic changes at the San Mateo, Calif.-based CRM vendor.

"We cover the traditional large end of the market. Our OnDemand product is giving us strategic opportunities to go to market with our customers, and we are developing our small- to medium-size practice. At this time, we will continue to focus on those segments," he said. "Any modifications will occur after I've had time to examine them."

Shaheen shouldn't need too much time to come up to speed on Siebel's strategy and operations. He has spent 10 years on the company's board of directors.

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Ousted CEO Lawrie joined Siebel last May from IBM, where as senior vice president and group executive he was responsible for IBM's worldwide sales and distribution efforts. Earlier this month, Siebel shocked Wall Street with warnings that it expects to lose $7 million to $9 million in its first quarter. The forecasted results precipitated Lawrie's ouster.

Under Lawrie's helm, Siebel had begun to dip its toe back into the channel waters. Last December, the company announced a new midmarket strategy and signed on three new U.S. channel partners to go after licensed midmarket sales.

"I can't say I saw a lot of progress since that December announcement," said Mark Johnston, president of Tier1 Innovation, Denver. "I wasn't seeing the execution or a lot of traction for partners. Lawrie had the ideas but not the execution. I used to work for [Shaheen] back when he was a managing partner at Andersen Consulting, and I think he'll be much more focused on execution. As a partner, I could not be more pleased."

Shaheen was CEO of Andersen Consulting before becoming president and CEO of flameout Webvan, which burned through more than $600 million and never turned a profit in its nearly four-year history.