Citrix Systems, the business software company whose operations have been targeted by an activist shareholder, is seeking a new chief executive to succeed Mark Templeton, who has led the business for well over a decade.
The California-based company announced Tuesday that Templeton, an N.C. State University graduate, has decided to retire but will remain president and CEO until a successor is named. Templeton has been president since 1998 and CEO since 2001. He joined the company in 1995, before it went public, as vice president of marketing.
“I can assure you I’ll be intensely focused on driving us forward until we identify the best person to take the reins, however long that may take,” Templeton said during a conference call with analysts.
Citrix started looking for a new CEO last year after Templeton announced retirement plans, but he subsequently reversed course and decided to continue to lead the business. The search for a new leader is one of several major initiatives Citrix announced Tuesday.
The company said it is reviewing strategic alternatives for its GoTo products, including a sale or a spin-off, and that its board of directors has formed an operations committee to review the company’s operations and capital structure in conjunction with management. Hedge fund Elliott Management, which owns 7.5 percent of Citrix, wrote the company in June urging it to sell its GoTo business, which includes online meeting software GoToMeeting, and become more cost-efficient.
Under an agreement with Elliott unveiled Tuesday, Jesse Cohn, a senior portfolio manager at Elliott and head of its activist activities in the U.S., was named to the board and will be one of the four directors serving on the operations committee. In addition, a new independent board member “mutually agreeable to Citrix and Elliott” who has yet to be named to the board also will serve on the committee.
Under the terms of the deal with Elliott, which was filed with regulators, the activist shareholder agreed to limit its ownership stake to 9.9 percent and not seek any additional changes on the board of directors.
Citrix software enables a company’s employees to work from anywhere online.
“Mark Templeton is a software industry giant,” Thomas Bogan, the company’s lead independent director, said in a prepared statement. “Under his 20 years of leadership, Citrix has transformed to a $3 billion technology leader.”
Citrix also reported its second-quarter results after the markets closed Tuesday. Revenue totaled $797 million, up 2 percent from a year ago. Adjusted net income totaled $163 million, or $1 per share, up from $142 million a year ago.
“The company seems to have started getting some benefit (from) cost cutting measures,” Mizuho Securities analyst Abhey Lamba wrote in a research note. Lamba also noted that the results exceeded expectations.
Citrix announced plans in February to lay off 700 full-time employees and 200 contract workers, but the company’s Triangle workers were mostly spared. Fewer than five employees at the company’s Raleigh office, which employs about 600 people, lost their jobs.
The primary focus of the Raleigh site is the company’s ShareFile software that enables businesses to share files confidentially over the Internet. ShareFile revenue rose 44 percent in the second quarter.
Citrix shares closed Tuesday at $69.63, up $1.02. Its shares have risen 9 percent this year.