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Update: Tom Siebel stepping down as CEO

New Siebel Systems CEO Michael Lawrie says he won't change the company's strategy, but an analyst says more executive changes may be on the horizon.

As of Tuesday morning, Thomas M. Siebel will no longer be the top executive at the company that bears his name.

Siebel Systems Inc. announced Monday afternoon that Michael J. Lawrie will take over as chief executive officer of the San Mateo, Calif.-based company. Coming to Siebel from IBM, Lawrie, 50, was most recently senior vice president and group executive for sales and distribution, leading the company's global operations.

Siebel will continue to serve as chairman of the board and will continue to work full-time at the company. He will assist with the leadership transition and provide input on business strategies, as well as foster relationships with customers and partners.

"This is a big day for the company," Siebel said. "We can't imagine a more experienced or talented executive in the role."

The move has been in the works for more than a year, Siebel said, and was made to enhance the executive leadership and separate the roles of CEO and chairman.

Lawrie began at IBM in 1977 and held positions in sales, marketing, development and financial management. In 1997, he was named general manager of personal software products, and later headed Big Blue's network computing software division. He became general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 1998, and took over the global sales and distribution arm in 2001.

There will be no major changes in the company's direction or executive team, according to Lawrie.

"Siebel Systems has a strategy in place, a game plan in place and we're going to continue to execute against that," Lawrie said. "We're going to move forward with the team we have."

Lawrie declined to discuss any medium-term goals. He said his global perspective and relationships were things that he will bring to the table as the new head of Siebel.

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Just what the move means for the direction of the company and its customers was difficult to gauge following a conference call late Monday.

"All we can really go on is the fact the new CEO says there will be no changes to the team, no major disruptions," said Steve Bonadio, senior program director with Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group.

"It's going to take some time to feel this new guy out," Bonadio said. "His resume is quite impressive. He's definitely been around the block."

Bonadio said he does expect some changes in the management team over the next 18 months, as Lawrie settles in and looks to add executives with whom he has worked successfully in the past.

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