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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has almost 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the design … More »

Changing Of the Guard At ANSYS

 
September 1st, 2016 by Jeff Rowe

For only the fourth time since its inception, earlier this week ANSYS announced a leadership succession plan with a new CEO. James E. Cashman, who has served as ANSYS’ CEO since 2000, will step down as CEO and become Chairman of the Board of Directors effective January 1, 2017. Dr. Ajei S. Gopal, a technology industry veteran who has served as a member of the ANSYS Board since 2011, has been appointed President and CEO effective immediately and will continue to serve on the Board. Dr. Gopal will become CEO on January 1, 2017. Ronald W. Hovsepian, who currently serves as Chairman of the ANSYS Board, will assume the role of Lead Independent Director as part of this transition.


ANSYS_logo


Although no reason was given for his departing the CEO role, in a prepared statement Mr. Cashman said, “Over the past 20 years, we have grown ANSYS to become the world’s leading engineering software provider thanks to our relentless focus on innovation and commitment to our customers. Today, ANSYS has the most talented employees in the industry, a best-in-class portfolio, more than 45,000 customers worldwide and a sound growth strategy to take us into the future. As we look to scale to $2 billion in revenues and beyond, I strongly believe that now is the right time to begin the transition to the next generation of leadership. Attracting Ajei, a technology industry veteran with an exceptional track record, is a huge win for ANSYS. I have come to know and admire Ajei as a fellow director, and I have no doubt that his outstanding leadership, unique perspective and appreciation for ANSYS’ culture, people and organization make him the right choice to serve as our next leader during this exciting time.”

ANSYS ACT Global Update ANSYS 17 video illustrates the ANSYS ACT development strategy and what is implemented in the ANSYS 17 release.

Dr. Gopal is a 25-year industry veteran with extensive management and business development experience at large software and technology companies. Dr. Gopal joined the ANSYS Board in February 2011. He has been an operating partner at Silver Lake since April 2013. In 2016, Dr. Gopal was seconded from Silver Lake to serve as interim president and COO at Symantec. Prior to Silver Lake, he was senior vice president and general manager at Hewlett-Packard from 2011. Earlier, Dr. Gopal was executive vice president at CA Technologies, which he joined in 2006. From 2004 to 2006, he served as executive vice president and chief technology officer of Symantec. Until 2004, Dr. Gopal was with ReefEdge Networks, a company he co-founded in 2000. Before that, he worked at IBM for nine years, initially at IBM Research, and later in IBM’s Software Group. He began his career as a member of the technical staff at Bell Communications Research. Dr. Gopal has 23 U.S. patents to his name and has a doctorate in computer science from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology. In a word, Dr. Gopal has his stuff together, and this should serve him very well as CEO of ANSYS.

Dr. Gopal said, “ANSYS is on an exciting growth trajectory as it executes on its long-term plans. Jim’s vision and tremendous leadership have set a high bar, and I am committed to building on our standard of excellence and pushing the boundaries of innovation to help customers solve their most complex design challenges. I look forward to working with Jim, the Board, our leadership team, employees and customers around the globe to continue our legacy and capture the vast market opportunity ahead to drive stockholder value.”

ANSYS Acquisitions Under Cashman:CAD and IoT
Under Mr. Cashman’s watch a number of significant acquisitions were made, most notably in CAD and IoT.

A couple years ago, another CAD company was snapped up. That in itself was not too surprising. What was, though, is that a CAE (ANSYS) company acquired a CAD company (SpeceClaim) for $85 million in cash.

From the beginning, SpaceClaim said it offered a 3D modeling tool that could be used by more than just CAD experts during the product development process (and this was a key point to the acquisition).

Prior to the acquisition, the two companies knew each other pretty well because SpaceClaim and ANSYS had partnered in the past to offer customers ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler. Since 2009, SpaceClaim had been available as an option to ANSYS customers for enabling simulation engineering teams to address business, engineering, and geometry issues in 3D.

ANSYS’ long-term vision was “Simulation Driven Product Development,” where organizations derive value by using computer simulation early in the design cycle to predict how a product will perform in the real world. With the addition of SpaceClaim, ANSYS will provide customers with a 3D direct modeling solution for creating new concepts and then leveraging the simulation to iterate designs. The broad appeal of the SpaceClaim technology can help ANSYS deliver simulation tools to the non-traditional CAD user, which is a good thing, especially for potential market – at the earliest stages of the design cycle.

Since ANSYS has always been an essentially open platform and SpaceClaim’s offerings were also relatively CAD-neutral, where users could modify geometries regardless of the system in which they were created – and this is a good thing.

“This transaction is consistent with our strategic vision and M&A strategy, and accelerates our technological product roadmap to enhance our customer offering and drive growth,” said Mr. Cashman. “SpaceClaim is an exciting addition to our portfolio, as it addresses unmet 3D modeling needs in the conceptual modeling, manufacturing and 3D printing spaces, which represents an audience of 5 million users. In addition to driving innovation, the addition of SpaceClaim helps ANSYS accelerate the growth of the simulation market by broadening our user base from analysts and expert users to the millions of design and systems engineers in the industry. We welcome the SpaceClaim team to ANSYS.”

Last year ANSYS, a major provider of engineering simulation (CAE) software, announced that it has acquired substantially all the assets of Delcross Technologies, a developer of computational electromagnetic simulation and radio frequency system analysis software.

The acquisition was intended to let ANSYS users understand how antennas interact within their operating environments and how this behavior affects the system’s overall ability to transmit and receive data without interference.

So, what does this really signify? Simulating not just large-scale antenna systems, such as those found in giant aerospace projects (which will surely go on after the acquisition), but on a much, much smaller scale for Internet of Things (IoT) projects.

Driven by development for the Internet of Things, antennas have become increasingly pervasive across industries and products. Autonomous vehicles, smart metering, drones, bio-sensors and wearable electronics are just a few examples of products that now use one or more antennas and wireless systems to provide such services as voice, data communications, sensing and navigation. But these antennas and other electronic components can disrupt the operation of devices, a phenomenon known as electromagnetic interference, or EMI. Delcross identifies and helps mitigate EMI issues.

At the time of the acquisition, Mr. Cashman said, “ANSYS will bring Delcross’ industry-leading technology to a broader market and further strengthen our leadership in antenna design, wireless system performance and EMI prediction.” The combined ANSYS high-frequency solution will deliver an unequalled portfolio for wireless system design. When we pair this expanded electronics offering with our best-in-class structures and fluids solutions, our users can create more complete virtual prototypes of whole systems.”

This acquisition looked and still looks like a good move by ANSYS that has helped diversify its business by riding on one of the major waves of future technology – IoT.

Admittedly, any change at the top can be unsettling for employees and customers, and with all that he has accomplished, Jim Cashman will be a tough act to follow. However, Dr. Gopal seems to be a good fit in the succession puzzle and will get a chance to make his unique mark for the future of ANSY for all he brings to the CEO role.

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