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Lotus' Zollar to replace Duncan as head of iSeries group

IBM iSeries chief Buell Duncan has been replaced by Lotus' Al Zollar. Duncan has moved over to IBM's software group as general manager, developer relations. Some say the new blood could be good for the platform.

Buell Duncan, general manager for IBM's eServer iSeries, will be replaced by Al Zollar, head of the company's Lotus software unit. Duncan has been moved over to the IBM Software group to become general manager for developer relations, replacing Bob Timpson, who is retiring.

Steve Mills, IBM Software's senior vice president and group executive, made the announcement in a memo late Wednesday. IBM would not comment further on the reason for the move.

Zollar, a 26-year IBM veteran, has been in charge of Lotus and its flagship products -- Notes/Domino, Sametime and QuickPlace -- for the past three years.

Duncan had headed the iSeries group since October 2000, when he replaced Tom Jarosh. At the time, the AS/400 was transitioning to a new name, the iSeries. Duncan was well-liked at IBM, according to insiders, and is credited by some for having generated much-needed credibility for the platform.

Duncan is responsible for birthing the iSeries Nation, launching Linux on the platform and, most recently, spearheading a movement within IBM to get back in touch with its partners.

Previously, Duncan was general manager for IBM Global Business Partners, with responsibility for developing relationships and sales coverage and for overseeing the financial performance of IBM's network of Business Partners worldwide.

Not everyone, however, was thrilled with Duncan's performance, and some weren't surprised to hear that IBM replaced him.

"Buell has been politically correct [within IBM,] but he doesn't have the commitment to the channel," said Pete Elliot, director of marketing for Key Information Systems, an IBM Business Partner.

"Zollar is probably more channel-focused," Elliot added. "It's time to move things around, time for some new blood. The more channel-focused they are, the more they can get to that last mile marker in marketing. Maybe Zollar can do that."

Ambuj Goyal, a 21-year Big Blue veteran, will take over at Lotus. The 46-year-old Goyal currently serves as general manager of IBM's Solutions and Strategy division, where he is responsible for WebSphere business integration and setting the IBM Software group strategy.


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