Siebel loses public-sector VP

One of the leading software salesmen to the federal government resigned last week from Siebel Systems Inc.

Kevin Fitzgerald confirmed that he left the San Mateo, Calif.-based company March 2, but he wouldn't comment on his reasons for leaving.

He served as vice president for the public sector at Siebel for 16 months. The company makes customer relationship management and electronic business software. The Education Department, the General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service use Siebel software, he said.

"They're losing the best software sales executive in our industry," said Robert Guerra, president of Guerra and Associates, Oakton, Va. "If I was Oracle, I'd be dancing in the street" because Oracle Corp. and Siebel compete in the CRM market. Guerra has performed consulting work for Oracle.

"My understanding is that Siebel's model is to sell direct, and that didn't match well with this market" because federal agencies usually purchase CRM software as a part of a larger acquisition through an integrator or reseller, Guerra said.

Fitzgerald worked at Oracle for 10 years, leaving in 1997 after serving as vice president and general manager of Oracle's federal, state and local government sales. He helped build the company's government sales from $21 million in 1987 to $450 million in 1997, he said.

He then served as Netscape Communications Corp.'s vice president of North American sales from 1997 to 1999. While there, he helped the company ink a Defense Department site license through the Defense Information Systems Agency. That deal has grown to include not just client and server products but also public-key infrastructure products. The Defense Logistics Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA were big users of Netscape software.

A Siebel spokeswoman said the company had no comment on Fitzgerald's leaving.

Fitzgerald said he'll take six weeks off and then he plans on starting a job at either a software vendor or an integrator in mid-April.

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