Industry veterans heading into social software

We don’t generally comment on executive changes specifically, unless there is something particulalry newsworthy about them.  We save such info for our overall company and business updates that go out as part of our Market Insight Service.

But two such announcements in the social software realm in one day seems noteworthy, particularly as they come from direct competitors.

Telligent Systems has a new CEO, Patrick Brandt, who replaces co-founder Rob Howard in the role.  Howard will continue as CTO.  Brandt was previously CEO of document output vendor Skywire Software, which was acquired by Oracle a year ago.

Jive Software has a new CMO, Ben Kiker, who has been CMO at Interwoven for the last several years and prior to that held roles at Siebel and Onyx.  The colorful Sam Lawrence, Jive’s previous CMO, left the company in March as part of what CEO Dave Hersh described as the company’s transition from a ‘big small company’ to a ‘small big company.’

Besides being announced on the same day, what else do these appointments have in common?

  • Both execs were recently part of M&A events, since Autonomy acquired Interwoven in January.
  • Both companies took sizable amounts of VC money — Telligent got a $20m investment from Intel Capital in September 2008 and Jive took $15m from Sequoia Capital in August 2007.  How much did that have to do with bringing in these more seasoned execs?  Often, it does quite a lot.  Much of Jive’s exec team has been replaced in the past year, many with ex-Mercury Interactive folks, after Tony Zingale, former President and CEO of Mercury Interactive, joined Jive’s board in February 2007.
  • Telligent and Jive are among the most promising of the independents at work in enterprise social software.  Bringing in more experienced enterprise software execs is hardly surprising and makes sense.
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