Report Describes 'Culture of Fear' at CABy Paula Musich | Posted 2007-04-23 Email Print
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The Special Litigation Report that recommended that the company sue retired Chairman Charles Wang for $500 in restitution describes a "culture of fear" under his leadership.The Special Litigation Report released on Feb. 13 was scathing in its description of the way CA was run under Charles Wang's guidance.
In the report, the SLC described a "culture of fear" cultivated among employees, a startling lack of internal finance and audit controls given the size of the company and a "profound failure of leadership."
Although several former employees contacted by eWEEK, who did not want to be named, confirmed such a culture, not everyone agreed with that assessment.
But what the SLC report didn't address was perhaps another legacy that Wang left when he exited the company: poor customer satisfaction.
"Years ago (in the early '90s) when you talked with a group of CIOs, you mention CA and the whole room would hiss," commented Judith Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz & Associates, a Waltham, Mass., consulting company.
But that was the early '90s, and CA, under the direction of former CEO Sanjay Kumar, embarked on a program to improve customer service and earn the trust of customers to become a strategic software provider.
Some industry watchers believe that a potential lawsuit against Wang could have the effect of further distancing CA from that past.
"It says, 'the company you came to know and hate is not the company here to serve you today,'" remarked Rick Sturm, president of Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo.
To be fair, not all customers held such a dim view of CA.
"The whole thing just makes us really sad, because Charles built it from nothing. We had a long relationship with him. We love their products. Charles moved that company forward by technical innovation and by the strength of his character," said Sorrel Jakins, chief engineer in the Office of Information Technology Engineering at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah.
Under CEO John Swainson, CA is making further progress to transform itself into being a "customer- and technology-centered company," according to Donna Scott, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "We're hearing (from CA customers) that they are more satisfied and getting more from their relationship with CA," she added.
Still, there are some customers who felt burned by CA years ago who continue to avoid doing business with CA.
"If the products deliver value and people feel they're being treated fairly, they have shorter memories. If not, the memories get longer," remarked Hurwitz.
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