January 23, 2006
Carl Bass Ascends To The Top At Autodesk
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Autodesk announced that Carl Bass, the company's chief operating officer, has been named president and chief executive officer, effective May 1, 2006. Bass also has been appointed to the company's expanded Board of Directors, effective immediately.

Carol Bartz, who has served as CEO since April 1992, will become the company's first Executive Chairman of the Board.

"Carl Bass is one of the most respected executives in this industry and has played an integral leadership role in Autodesk's success," Bartz said. "He has a deep knowledge of the industry and the business as well as a keen understanding of our customers and the demands they face every day. As I assume my new duties as Executive Chairman, Carl's appointment as CEO represents a natural evolution of leadership at Autodesk."

As COO, Bass has had overall responsibility for sales, marketing and product development in Autodesk's core businesses: manufacturing, infrastructure, media and entertainment, building and wireless data services. Bass' commitment to Autodesk's customers spans his 10-year-long career with the company. Before serving as COO, he was senior executive vice president of the Design Solutions Group. He also served as chief strategy officer, chief technology officer and executive vice president of emerging business, looking broadly across the Autodesk organization at strategy and growth opportunities that have enabled the company to expand its portfolio of products and services, and enter new

"It is through Carol's strong and decisive leadership that Autodesk secured its preeminent position in the market today," said Carl Bass. "As 3D technology is creating the next great transition in the industries we serve, Autodesk will continue to be at the forefront of providing technology that supports the ideas of the most innovative and creative customers around the globe, from manufacturing to building, infrastructure, and media and entertainment. I'm honored to be able to build on the legacy of Carol's tenure as CEO."

As Executive Chairman, Bartz will focus her energies on improving the business climate for Autodesk around the world, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Eastern Europe, as well as work to build even stronger relationships with Autodesk's key customers, partners and investors.

During her 14 years as CEO, Bartz guided Autodesk from its start as a small company to an established and well-diversified design software and services company. With approximately $1.5 billion in annual revenue, Autodesk is acknowledged as one of the best run companies in America. Today, Autodesk is the recognized leader in 3D technology and services. This month Autodesk was named one of America's best big companies, and one of the best-managed companies, by Forbes magazine. In addition, Fortune magazine named Autodesk one of the 100 best companies to work for and named Bartz to their 2005 list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.

"Carol absolutely transformed Autodesk over the past 14 years, delivering tremendous value to shareholders, customers and employees alike. In her new role as Executive Chairman, we're confident she will continue to focus her considerable expertise and skills on helping Autodesk grow and prosper under Carl Bass," said J. Hallam Dawson, chairman of IDI Associates and longest standing member of Autodesk's board. "As CEO, Carl brings a passion for Autodesk that he has honed during his time as COO. As Autodesk undertakes this evolution of its management team, Carl has every tool necessary to continue executing the company's strategy and delivering results for customers, employees
and shareholders."

Initial indications are that this is a very good move for the future of Autodesk - both near term and long term - as well as for its customers, employees, and investors. Bass takes over from Carol Bartz, who has been chief executive since April 1992, and will now become the company's first executive chairman of the board. What exactly is entailed in the role of executive chairman of the board I don't know, but we'll soon see and find out. During a press conference Bartz did outline that as executive chairman, she will focus her energies on improving the business climate for Autodesk around the world, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India, and Eastern Europe, as well as
work to build stronger relationships with Autodesk's key customers, partners, and investors. That's a lot of different hats to wear, but without having to be focused on day-to-day operations, I'm sure she'll be able to devote the effort and attention that the new role requires. Bartz also said she wanted to spend more time with her family and get her golf handicap to 20 - both great aspirations.

As COO, Bass has been responsible for sales, marketing and product development in Autodesk's core businesses. Before serving as COO, he was senior executive vice president of the Design Solutions Group. He has also served as chief strategy officer, chief technology officer, and executive vice president of emerging business, so he's really entrenched in the company based on his various roles at different levels. These various roles have helped him develop a strong understanding of Autodesk's products and customers, and will help him plot the course of Autodesk's business strategy. He has been with Autodesk about 10 years, and I consider him a real "product guy," which I think
will serve him well in the future moving forward. Autodesk plans to maintain its current focus on manufacturing and the media and entertainment segments and will not change course, said Bass. "Carol and I have worked together for a long time," he said. "Much of the stuff stays in place and it is really the same direction."

Overall, I think that this transition and succession will be a smooth process, with little if any negative effect on the company, its products, or its direction. Because of his background and track record with Autodesk, Bass may prove ideally suited for taking the company to the next level. However, Bartz will be a tough act to follow, since several years ago she predicted that Autodesk would generate revenues in excess of a billion dollars - a prediction that has come to pass in reality - she did what she said she was going to do. Her smaller role as executive chairman of the board is not as significant as the fact that she will still be an important part and voice for the company she
helped achieve the level that it enjoys today.

The Week's Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Structural Research and Analysis Corp. (SRAC) announced the release of COSMOSDesignSTAR 2006, a completely redesigned version of its analysis program that works with virtually all CAD programs. In addition to a new graphical user interface, COSMOSDesignSTAR 2006 offers several new tutorial features and a variety of new analysis capabilities that include virtual connectors for assemblies, drop tests, and fatigue life. The virtual connectors are knowledge-based tools for performing complex assembly analyses without difficult and time-consuming connector modeling. To help design engineers analyze the effects of impact on their designs, COSMOSDesignSTAR 2006 now also enables drop test simulation for both parts and assemblies. A wizard called Analysis Advisor takes beginner or casual users through the analysis set-up and post-processing stages, and answers such questions as what study type to use, what to do if a mesh fails, and how to interpret results. The new release has also added mixed meshing -- making it possible for engineers to simulate thick and thin components with a combination of solid elements for thick bodies and shell elements for thin parts. COSMOSDesignSTAR 2006 also offers fatigue life analysis for performing fatigue studies on assemblies that contain different material properties, and also to be more accurate in predicting a product's lifespan by
using actual loading conditions in a fatigue simulation.

Manufacturing and design software group, Planit Holdings plc has acquired CAM software company, Pathtrace plc. This acquisition is another step in Planit's CAM consolidation strategy and, with market presence already achieved in wood, stone and sheet metal, the addition of Pathtrace to the group makes Planit a significant player with over 50,000 customers worldwide. The group's brands already include alphacam, cabinet vision, cabnetware and radan. Pathtrace is also Autodesk's global preferred CAM partner and a certified SolidWorks CAM partner.

Vapor Rail, North America's leading provider of passenger rail door systems, has selected SolidWorks for all of its new designs, citing the software's superior ease of use and performance with large assemblies. The company designs, develops, and manufactures complete door systems, accessibility aids, and related accessories for passenger rail vehicles. Vapor Rail engineers design all the mechanical, electronic, and software systems to operate and secure passenger rail doors under both normal and emergency circumstances. The company replaced its Solid Edge software with SolidWorks. Vapor Rail engineers are using COSMOSWorks
design analysis software to predict deflection in key parts and to meet shock and vibration standards. SolidWorks' eDrawings e-mail based collaboration software is helping Vapor Rail efficiently share designs with customers. Vapor Rail is using the PDMWorks product data management software to securely store new designs alongside legacy data created in AutoCAD software for reuse and revision control.

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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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