Changes At Alfresco

Open source document manager Alfresco has changed management in anticipation of going public in the US. As of January 15, the new CEO is Doug Dennerline, the former CEO of SuccessFactors. He replaces the company’s founder, John Powell, who will be working on the IPO and have a position on the Board of Directors.

In an interview with CMSWire, Powell explained that the company has not set a date to file its IPO. The founder has a general target of six months to start the process. In the meantime, he will be working with “Valley Vet” Dennerline to learn the ropes at Alfresco. Powell’s decision to step aside surprised some industry insiders. The information management industry is still primarily located in Silicon Valley in the US and Powell’s decision for his Euro-based enterprise was to recruit a CEO that Wall Street investors would like. Dennerline fits that bill quite nicely.

Co-founder, John Newton, will remain as CTO. Powell said it had been their goal from Day One to take the company public in the US. Powell acknowledge that the company is still in an early stage but that the market’s strength was just too great to wait much longer. Powell told the interviewer:

“We had always thought that we would float the company at the right time on the US market… the company is still at an early stage of development and for a different type of investor is just the start of the journey. We have been able to build a global company even though a lot of the executives haven’t been in the US. In the last five years, the valley has become increasingly more clustered and not being there, I think, has been a significant disadvantage.”

Powell discussed the challenge of taking a European business public in the US. The company does not want to move to the US and start from scratch so Powell decided to bring the Valley to Alfresco in the form of Dennerline.

The new CEO will be charged with taking the company to the next level. This means servicing the existing accounts and adding to the customer base. Alfresco is well positioned to capitalize on the growth of the enterprise content management industry in Europe.

Dennerline has a strong resume. A 25-year veteran of Silicon Valley, his latest position as CEO of SuccessFactors was memorable. He led the business to an acquisition by SAP for $3.4 billion US. This move has the look of a winning combination.

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