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Ex-IBM exec quits Retek

Steve Ladwig's leaving makes room for Marty Leestma

From staff reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Steve Ladwig, IBM Corp.'s top Minnesota executive in the mid-1990s, is out as chief executive officer of struggling software firm Retek Inc. of Minneapolis.

Ladwig also resigned his seat on the firm's board of directors, the company said Monday. An announcement said he "resigned to pursue other opportunities."

He departs to make way for Marty Leestma, previously a global managing partner for Accenture, which formerly was known as Anderson Consulting. Leestma, 44, has led the company's consulting business with retail and consumer goods companies, including work with Retek.

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The Minneapolis-based firm supplies retailers with merchandising software for both stores and the Internet.

Ladwig will assist Retek for an undefined period of transition as a consultant, a company spokesman said. He came to Retek as its top executive in August 2001 after about three years as senior vice president in charge of Imation Corp.'s biggest division, its data storage group.

When Ladwig joined, Retek's performance was robust, with revenues rising and the company's stock in the high $20s a share. But in mid-2002, Retek's price plunged well into single digits, reflecting the general woes in the technology sector.

The company's revenues were up overall in 2002 from a year earlier, yet it lost $123.6 million. In the fourth quarter, sales also fell off 28 percent.

When he left IBM Corp. in July 1998, Ladwig had been IBM's senior state executive for Minnesota and general manager for network computing software for small and medium-sized clients worldwide.

Ladwig was leading the San Francisco Project, which created software modules that could be used to assemble full programs.

He also previously had held a top IBM Rochester position as vice president in charge of development for the AS/400 minicomputer, predecessor to today's eServer iSeries business computer.

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