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PTC's Heppelmann Gets CEO Title
May 12, 2010
2 Min Read
PTC this week capped off asuccession plan it put in place nearly 18 months ago by naming long-timetechnology strategist, current Chief Operating Officer and President JimHeppelmann as the company's new CEO. He succeeds Richard Harrison, who willremain the company's executive chairman.
Heppelmann joined PTC in 1998 as a senior vice presidentwhen PTC acquired Windchill Technology, the company he founded that is now thecore of PTC'senterprise PLM product platform. Heppelmann's deep technical roots andclose ties to the engineering community were quickly recognized, earning himthe CTO title in 2001, and two years later, an appointment as chief productofficer. In this role, Heppelmann was responsible for strategic direction, productdevelopment and marketing. He joined PTC's Board of Directors in May 2008 andwas named the company's president and COO last March, an appointment whichseemed to finalize the formal succession plan.
Heppelmann, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering,says he has personal expertise with the kinds of problems PTC's customers aretrying to solve. "I've developed software, I've architected software anddeployed software," he says. "I'm very close to the actual use of technologyand the customer environment and that helps me guide PTC where it's going."
Heppelmann's roots in technology are another differentiatorbetween himself and Harrison. "I'm a technologist with a good understanding ofcustomers and sales, while (Harrison) is a sales expert with good understandingof technology," he says. Heppelmann said he has been guiding PTC's productdirection for the last few years, with great influence from Harrison and PTC'stop management team. The transition is slated to occur as PTC closes fiscal2010. Harrison will continue in an executive chairman role, focusing on keycustomer and investor relationships - a move that plays to his strengths,Heppelmann says.
The succession comes at a time when PTC is enjoying renewedgrowth. The company is on track to achieve its goal of 20 percent non-GAAPearnings growth and is projecting slightly over a $1 billion in revenue forfiscal 2010. PTC hit the $1 billion revenue mark in the late 1990s, but thecompany's fortunes went south after the tech bust in the early 2000s hittingits nadir of $660 billion in sales for fiscal 2004. PTC was back in growth modeduring the mid-2000s, but it took a turn for the worse in 2008 as the recessiontook a dramatic bite out of companies' budgets for engineering and productdevelopment software. With its billion-dollar revenue goal back in sight,Heppelmann says he's pleased with the growth curve and doesn't expect anychanges in product direction.
With Windchill now the centerpiece of PTC's strategy,accounting for 50 percent of the firm's revenue, Heppelmann says the time isripe for PTC to have a technical leader at the helm. "It's important to have atechnical leader going forward given that the company has reshaped itselfaround this technology," he says.
PTC's Heppelmann Gets CEO Title_A
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