Changing of the guard at Autodesk

Steve’s breakdown: With a new CMO, CPO and a new CEO on the way, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to make a good impression.

BTW: Autodesk, Inc. is the world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets.

SAN RAFAEL, CA: Not surprisingly, Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) CEO Carl Bass has announced his retirement, effective Wednesday. Bass will remain with Autodesk in an interim capacity until another CEO is named, and will keep his seat on the board of directors. Bass had been with Autodesk for 24 years, since it bought Ithaca Software, a software firm he co-founded. Bass was named CEO on May 1, 2006.

Autodesk has appointed current Chief Product Officer Amar Hanspal and Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Anagnost as interim co-CEOs until a permanent replacement for Bass is found. Autodesk added that its search for a new chief exec is underway.

The reason that news of Bass’ departure isn’t necessarily surprising is that he and the company initiated discussions on the subject nearly two years ago. Those talks were set aside when activist investment firm Sachem Head Capital Management began acquiring a significant stake in the company. Sachem eventually won two seats on the board of directors for its representatives. Concurrent to Bass’ stepping down as CEO, both of Sachem’s Autodesk directors have agreed to resign.

In an open letter posted on the Autodesk website, Bass said that in addition to “spending more time in my shop with my robots,” he has “other plans” and “will have more to say on what I’m doing in the next few months.”

Bass is credited for Autodesk’s successful transition to a cloud-based subscription model that continues to drive recurring revenue growth. Autodesk stock was up more than 2.5% in mid-afternoon trading Tuesday.

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