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Change of CEO at Aderant

Mike Kohlsdorf, President & CEO of Aderant is leaving to become a partner at a global private equity firm focused exclusively on investments in technology and technology enabled services businesses. (We can't disclose the identity of the PE firm but it won't come as a surprise.) He is being succeeded with pretty much immediate effect Chris Giglio. There are no changes among the rest of the Aderant senior management team.
Kohlsdorf joined Aderant in October of 2006, since that time the company has grown its installed base to over 600 customers globally; achieved 100% go-live success as it relates to the implementation of Aderant Expert 7.5 across in excess of 275 clients; and realized 99% customer retention rates and 96% overall customer satisfaction (as verified by third parties and posted on Aderant’s website)
Chris Giglio is joining Aderant as President & CEO. He was most recently Senior Vice President at Surgical Information Systems, a Vista Equity portfolio company. He is an application software and services veteran who has held general management positions in operations, sales and marketing at companies ranging in size from start-up to Fortune 500.
As it relates to his departure Mike Kohlsdorf said, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my tenure at Aderant and want to extend my appreciation to all Aderant employees for their contributions to our success”. He went on to say “I have had the pleasure of getting to know Chris over the last two years, consider him to be a very employee and customer centric leader and expect the transition to be quite smooth.”

Comment: No doubt we'll be hearing a lot of FUD being thrown by the competition but there are three key points to be made here…

The first is that Mike Kohlsdorf is not some long-time Aderant staffer who has been with the company since the early CMS days. He is the man from Corporate America with plenty of miles still left in his engine. If executives like that are any good, they don't stay with the same company until it is time to draw their pension, instead they always move on. It's the CEOs who don't move you have to worry about.

Secondly, Chris Giglio has effectively been shadowing Kohlsdorf for the past few months so this is not some sudden resignation and a scrabble to find a replacement but a planned succession.

Finally, we spoke to both Kohlsdorf and Giglio last week. Although Giglio is not from the legal software business (neither was Kohlsdorf) he is from a sector where customers are also running mission critical systems and have high expectations in terms of service and support. In the words of Giglio, when it comes to the transition “Aderant won't miss a beat.”

8 replies on “Change of CEO at Aderant”

The real issue is not so much the head bean-counter moving on, rather the fact that the key players in the business, development, services, were all his people from previous companies. Over time it's almost inevitable that they will move on. No doubt the new CEO will have his own friends waiting in the wings. Still, Aderant needs a boost from new blood, especially in the UK where it has apparently gone into hibernation.

You write “he is from a sector where customers are also running mission critical systems ” Is there a non-public sector anywhere where customers are running systems that are NOT mission critical and if so why would anyone want to run a non-mission critical system ?. Secondly , as much as this is news to some people , ALL users everywhere 'high expectations in terms of service and support'.

I think 'mission critical' in this context means industries where you have doctors and lawyers throwing hissy fits and threatening to sue if their systems are not working. As for 'high expectations in term of service & support' in the UK if you are a customer of a rail company, a budget airline, a power company, a phone company and/or most banks you have very low expectations and are pleasantly surprised when you get even mediocre service.

As stated there are always moves amongst executive ranks. More importantly, given the history over the past few years Aderant are about due to be sold again, which would be more worrying to me if I was a client. Is Mike's departure a sign of things to come on that front?

Which of the following CEO's from the top 100 list of longest serving CEO's would you ' have to worry about' ?
Admiral Group: Henry Engelhardt (1993)
Autonomy Corporation: Mike Lynch (1996)
BG: Frank Chapman (2000)
Cairn Energy: William Gammell (1988)
Capita Group: Paul Pindar (1999)
Diageo: Paul Walsh (2000)
Icap: Michael Spencer (1998)
Imperial Tobacco Group: Gareth Davis (1996)
Pearson: Marjorie Scardino (1997)
Reckitt Benckiser: Bart Becht (1999)
Rolls-Royce: John Rose (1996)
SABMiller: Ernest Mackay (1999)
Sage Group: Paul Walker (1994)
Tesco: Terry Leahy (1996)
Tullow Oil: Aidan Heavey (1985)
WPP: Martin Sorrell (1986)
The evidence indicates that companies led by longer serving CEO's outperform the rest.

Phew – some serious research there – altho some of those guys founded their companies (Sorrell & Lynch etc) and a lot of them are conglomerates/multi division outfits so there is a lot going on to exercise the corporate mind whereas Aderant is nowhere in that size league (he says, floundering with his argument) …CC

No worries CC. My point is that there are no absolutes and that generalisations can be dangerous. Correlations between things such as length of service , age , social networking gravitas and performance
are tenous at best. At the end of the day – he says thrashing about for something less cliched — handsome is as handsome does.

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