The Wall Street Journal
February 6, 2006
Software Analyst Named Finance Chief at Ingres
Citigroup’s Tom Berquist, Citing New Rule Changes, Will Leave for Oracle Rival
By Don Clark
Tom Berquist, a well-known securities analyst covering the software industry, is leaving the profession to become chief financial officer of Ingres Corp., a newly reorganized maker of database programs.
Mr. Berquist, now a managing director at Citigroup Inc., also has worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Piper Jaffray & Co. He will join Ingres on March 1.
His decision partly stems from a series of rule changes on Wall Street that have put restrictions on how analysts can gather information, specifically cutting down on his communications with new companies that help shape the future of the industry.
“I miss that contact with all the innovation leaders,” Mr. Berquist said.
Prompted by financial scandals and the stock-market slump that began in 2000, the revised regulations prevent publicly held companies from selectively disclosing information to analysts in private discussions, making it harder for them to differentiate their research.
Mr. Berquist, 41 years old, said he chafed, in particular, at limitations on his ability to talk with closely held technology companies that were current or potential investment-banking clients of his firm. “If you wanted to have a discussion about a transaction,” he said, “you had to have lawyers present.”
Some other analysts have responded to the restrictions by joining venture-capital firms. Fewer have taken operating roles at technology companies. The best-known example of the latter choice is a move by Charles Phillips, a long-time software analyst at Morgan Stanley, in 2003 to take a senior position at Oracle Corp., the largest database-software company. He is now one of two Oracle executives who hold the title of president.
In his new job, Mr. Berquist will be competing with Mr. Phillips. Ingres takes its name from a venerable database program that originated at the University of California and was commercialized by Relational Technology Inc. The business, purchased in 1994 by CA Inc., formerly Computer Associates International Inc., was spun out of CA in November in a deal led by Garnett & Helfrich Capital, a Silicon Valley private-equity firm.
Ingres, whose Redwood City, Calif., headquarters is near Oracle’s, has several veterans from the larger company in its ranks. Unlike Oracle, it plans to make its software available on an “open-source” basis. The phrase refers to customers’ ability to view and modify programming instructions, known as source code, that are used to create a piece of software.
The company doesn’t expect to offer the database for free, like some open-source products, but does hope to substantially undercut Oracle’s prices. The company also faces competition from MySQL AB, a Swedish company that markets another open-source database.