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Two top CSG execs to depart

Thu, 05/20/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

CSG Systems disclosed in an 8-K form filed Thursday with the Securities Exchange Commission that two top executives will soon leave the Colorado-based billing and customer care company.

Company President and COO Jack Pogge will step down on May 28, 2004, a move that coincided with the company's annual shareholders meeting. Neal Hansen, CSG's CEO and chairman, will then add the role of president.

Meanwhile, William Fisher, president of CSG's Global Software Services Division, will resign from the company effective Sept. 30, 2004. Hansen will also assume control of CSG's GSS Division.

CSG, which did not disclose reasons for the forthcoming departures in the filing, noted the Ed Nafus, president of the broadband services division, and Peter Kalan, executive vice president and CFO, will retain their current duties.

CSG is reportedly rumored to be a possible acquisition target of Amdocs Ltd. Marianne Wolk, an analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, told Reuters that there is uncertainty about "whether the departures reflect streamlining of the organization, a debate as to whether or not to sell the company, or simply a personal matter."

CSG Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Liz Bauer said the departures had no connection with internal disagreements about the strategy of the company, but were part of a "normal course of business."

She noted that Fisher, whose contract with the company will end in September, was brought on board three years ago "and accomplished everything we asked of him." It's expected that Fisher will retire and spend more time with his family, Bauer said.

Meanwhile, Pogge, who joined the company in 1995, played a key role at CSG during its protracted arbitration with Comcast Cable. An independent arbitrator ruled in October that CSG must pay as much as $120 million in Most Favored Nations damages.

Though that money could've been used to fuel potential acquisitions by CSG, the ruling altered that strategy and precipitated a natural streamlining of CSG's management team, Bauer explained.

News about the departures sent CSG stock down 6.15 percent to $17.69 per share in early trading Friday.

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