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Business Week: Yankee, We Want You. Yankee, Go Home

Jul 26, 2001, 20:40 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Reinhardt)

Business Week dissects some of the problems at MandrakeSoft from an outsider's perspective, providing Henri Poole's side of his recent break from the company:

"It seemed like a fantastic opportunity for the entrepreneurial Henri Poole. He had co-founded and run Vivid Studios, a San Francisco-based Web consulting shop, before selling it in 1998 to Platinum Technology for $13 million. Then, after taking an 18-month break to travel and spend time with his newborn, Poole was approached by a group of European venture capitalists about becoming CEO of a French software company. In May, 2000, after a quick mating dance, Poole signed on to lead Paris-based MandrakeSoft, a two-year-old seller of Linux software.

Though Poole, then 36, was primed for a challenge, the Mandrake experience was tougher than he anticipated. Less than a year after joining MandrakeSoft, he departed after a split with the company's French founders over strategy. Poole had been hired to transform the company from a small Linux publisher into "a major software player," says Edward Walsh, former vice-president of communications, who resigned in July. In the end, the founders got cold feet about Poole's plan to turn the startup into a technology services provider.

"My vision was more aggressive than some of the founders and investors were comfortable with," Poole says. "They wanted the benefits at the end of the rainbow, but didn't like my plan for getting there." (MandrakeSoft executives wouldn't comment, saying the company is in the midst of a $3.7 million stock offering on the Paris Euronext Marché Libre, scheduled to close July 27.)"

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