Best/Accpac deal was all about timing

Sometimes it’s not the words executives say but the tone in which they say them. Take, for example, comments made earlier this month when Best Software announced it was acquiring Accpac from Computer Associates.

I interviewed both CEOs for the story: Ron Verni of Best and David Hood of Accpac.

Verni, when answering questions, was almost as a child at Christmas. Hood, on the other hand, was very subdued. The tone and inflection of his voice made me wonder if this was something he would rather not do.

So I asked: “”David did CA basically force your hand with this deal? Was this something you did not want to do?””

His answer did not surprise me. He basically said the deal was the right thing to do at this time for Accpac employees and partners. However, Hood added that it was all about timing. He said if I had asked this question two years ago, as Accpac was readying its IPO bid, he’d have answered differently.

So the deal is done and Hood may be out of a job when the deal officially closes in late February.

I never feel sorry or sad for executives in the IT industry, especially CEOs. Many are extremely overpaid for what they do, and sometimes have an ego that matches the paycheque.

I have interviewed many CEOs in this industry and Hood was unique and memorable.

He and I have a quasi-past. Years ago I was asked by my publisher at the time to fly to his office in Pleasanton, Calif., which wasn’t that pleasant as a town goes.

As the editor you never (rarely) get an assignment from your publisher. But, this was a special case because Hood was rather upset at CDN for a story we published. I later found out that Hood did not want to see me, but was encouraged to go ahead by the company vice president of marketing, Susan Sheridan.

I did not want to see Hood either. My first child was less than two months old and the last thing on my mind was to leave her and my wife.

I knew coming into this meeting that Hood, to put it mildly, was mad at CDN.

After we reluctantly met each other, I found Hood to be incredibly passionate about what his company does and the channel. The words he used and the tone in which he used them convinced me that he cared about the business and the people involved.

I interviewed Hood several times after that and my opinion of him has never changed.

One of Accpac’s long time channel partners Mike Burch of BurCom Consultants told to me that Hood’s passion resonated to the channel partners. Accpac dealers were motivated for success by Hood.

That I say this is a tough thing to do because the reseller community is a very fickle bunch and incredibly hard to please.

As it stands, Hood’s position in the new company has not been determined. If Best and Verni are smart, and I have no reason to think they are not the sharpest tools in the shed, they would give Hood the reins of this new company and let him run with it. If Sanjay Kumar, the CEO of Computer Associates, has a say he should retain Hood.

Now I know Kumar is smart, despite his unwillingness to fire Mike Milbury, the general manager of the New York Islanders, the NHL team he owns.

But if Hood rides off into the sunset I for one will miss him. More importantly, the Accpac dealers will miss him.

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