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Computer Associates International Inc. announced that Chairman and CEO Sanjay Kumar has stepped down and resigned his position from the board.

In a curious move, the company has created a new position for Kumar as chief software architect.

Lewis Ranieri, lead independent director of the board, was elected chairman of the board for the Islandia, N.Y., software giant.

CA has not yet named an interim CEO, but is expected to do that soon, and it will immediately launch a search for a new CEO.

“The changes in Sanjay’s role are not based on the conclusion that he engaged in any wrongdoing. Nonetheless, the conduct in question occurred during his tenure, and the Board felt this action was appropriate,” said Ranieri in a prepared statement.

The board of director’s Audit Committee found last October that CA had recognized revenue in 2000 for software license contracts that had been signed in later quarters than had been reported to meet Wall Street revenue expectations.

Read why Enterprise Applications Center Editor John Pallatto believes CA needs an outsider at the helm.

Industry observers tracking CA speculated that CA co-founder Russell Artz could be tapped to lead the company in the interim, or that new Chief Financial Officer Jeff Clarke is a possible candidate. Clarke earlier this month left Hewlett-Packard Co. to join CA.

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