Another Ingres Exec Exits

Dev Mukherjee, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of business development is leaving the open source database company for Sears Holdings. There he will be senior vice president of innovation and work for Sears' chairman Eddie Lambert, Mukherjee told CRN.

Mukherjee's last day at Ingres, Redwood Shores, Calif., will be Friday.

His departure comes weeks after several other prominent execs including Dave Dargo and Jim Finn left Ingres. Mukherjee maintains he is leaving for an exciting chance to work in another field. Had it not been for the Sears' offer "I absolutely would have stayed," he told CRN.

"This is just a great opportunity. [Sears] came out of bankruptcy a few years ago and has a great management team," he said.

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Ingres has an unusual pedigree. It was spun out of CA, but its technology is rooted in the early days of relational databases. Much of the original Ingres work was done by database pioneer Michael Stonebraker.

Last year, a management team put together by former Oracle executive Terry Garnett took over the technology assets from CA. The group included other Oracle vets including Dargo, and there was a lot of talk about Ingres taking on Oracle on its home turf of enterprise databases. Ingres now is co-owned partially by CA and Garnett and Helfrich Capital.

Dargo left Ingres quietly—in stark contrast to the PR blitz when he joined. In the wake of that exit Ingres CFO Tom Berquist was asked if that Oracle-bashing was misguided.

"Terry Garnett is the former marketing guy from Oracle. He's got his view on the importance of marketing and has provided some pretty good press. We get more press as a private company than a lot of public companies get. I tend to enjoy seeing this stuff popping up. It's better than being ignored," Berquist said soon after Dargo's decision.

Ingres is one of several open-source-oriented databases vying for customer support dollars. If focuses mainly on enterprise accounts with target customers falling in the global 2000 and Fortune 500 and slightly smaller companies.

Berquist said Ingres' commercial DNA differentiates it from MySQL and other open source players.

Our database came from a commercial background and is 100 percent owned and protected by Ingres, meaning that when we distribute the GPL and the binaries, we can certify them as being 100 percent IP protected. Nobody has to worry about taking our code and wondering if there's a community contribution in there that shouldn't be. Most of the other open source products tend to have community contributions and less than clear title."

About 60 percent of Ingres subscription/support sales is direct and 25 percent is channel oriented, he said. The company launched a channel program last year.

As a result, Ingres indemnifies its customers against legal actions related to code compliance. Indemnification became a hot issue a few years back when SCO said it might take customers to court if it felt their Linux code included SCO-owned intellectual property.

Berquist said the recent executive departures are not indicative of any problems at Ingres. Each of the former executives had his own reason to go and none of the senior-level departures were due to performance issues. And, "two of those leaving are converting their options which is typically a show of confidence,"he noted.

Berquist and others said an IPO remains the end game for the company and discounted talk of an acquisition of the company by Oracle or another company.

"IPO is the end game. We are pushing for one. We have no specific timing, but not far in the future," Berquist said.

Some Ingres partners are not sold on the company's business-as-usual stance. "There's just not a lot going on in my Ingres business now," said one partner who spoke on condition of anonymity. "And it's never a good sign when senior people leave in twos or threes. I just don't think they are doing well."

This partner said he is evaluating alternative technologies including EnterpriseDB.