Oracle Canada has named a 20-year software industry veteran as the new head of its Canadian operation.

Mark Aboud replaces Bill Bergen, who left Oracle Canada at the end of June. He assumes the title of group vice-president, sales

for Oracle Corp. Canada Inc.

Aboud rejoined Oracle after a brief, six-month stint at rival Siebel Systems. When Bergen left unexpectedly and Oracle came calling, “”it made sense to me,”” said Aboud, who had spent more than eight years at Oracle in a series of progressively responsible sales and management positions.

Aboud will have his share of challenges. Chief among them is weak overall demand for enterprise software with no upswing in sight in the immediate future, although Aboud says: “”I don’t see it getting worse.””

Oracle is facing limited growth prospects for its database management systems (DBMS) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications product lines, although Aboud sees a chance to increase market share.

There is the ongoing controversy around the City of Toronto leasing fiasco, which has resulted a public inquiry to determine how and why the City paid $1l.3 million for Oracle database licenses, while a city auditor said it used only a fraction of what it actually needed. The inquiry, which was to have begun last week, has been put on holding pending a criminal investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police.

“”We just have to get through it, “” says Aboud. If anything, he adds, the City of Toronto seems “”apologetic”” about the whole thing, and “”through the ordeal, we’ve kept up a good relationship.””

Aboud says his short-term priority is to spend more time with Oracle customers, listening to ways they want to license its products.

Other areas of opportunity include outsourcing, with Oracle helping their customers better manage their applications, and bringing to market the latest release of Oracle’s collaboration software, which was announced earlier this month. The Oracle Collaboration Suite offers calendar, conference, e-mail, voice mail and workflow capabilities, that are built on a single repository instead of requiring many servers to upgrade, maintain and manage.


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