Lotus Software Chief resigns

The head of Lotus Development's software development efforts resigned unexpectedly on Thursday, along with a senior executive with the IBM subsidiary's worldwide sales force, a Lotus spokesman confirmed on Friday.

Lotus didn't give a reason for the sudden departures of John Throckmorton, executive vice president of worldwide development and support, and James Fieger, executive vice president of worldwide field operations, but insisted that both men left on their own accord.

The Lotus spokesman rejected a suggestion that the high-level departures signal any sort of discord within the software company.

"Everything is still operating normally," said Lotus spokesman Paul LaBelle.

The departures come two months after Al Zollar, a former IBM general manager, replaced Jeff Papows as chief executive officer of Lotus in February. Papows' resignation fuelled speculation that IBM plans to take tighter control over the Lotus subsidiary, which it acquired five years ago.

Spokesman LaBelle said there is "no suggestion at this time" that the high-level departures portend any kind of structural changes at Lotus.

Jeanette Horan, vice president of software development, will assume Throckmorton's responsibilities while a search for a permanent replacement is conducted, LaBelle said. Fieger will be replaced in the interim by Pierre Van Beneden, a former general manager and senior vice president with Lotus's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, LaBelle said.