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Autodesk CEO Carl Bass To Resign; Company Institutes Search for New CEO

For a company whose stocks, revenues andprofits are soaring, Autodesk, is sure living through some troubled times. After ongoing rumors of differences between its “maker-friendly” CEO and several large shareholders, the company (ADSK) announced that Carl Bass has decided to step down as president and CEO, effective February 8.

The company’s board has instituted a CEO search. The executive search firm Egon Zehnder has been retained to assist in the CEO search. The Board has formed an Interim Office of the Chief Executive to oversee the company’s day-to-day operations.

Carl Bass, President & CEO, Autodesk.

The Interim Office of the Chief Executive will be headed by Amar Hanspal, senior vice president and chief product officer, and Andrew Anagnost, senior vice president and chief marketing officer as interim co-chief executive officers. Crawford W. Beveridge will remain non-executive chairman of the board.

I’ve worked with Carl through his tenure as CEO of Autodesk, and I’ve always valued his focus and vision, as well as his rare combination of business and technical expertise,” said Beveridge. “We have seen exponential growth in the last decade, both in the business and in Autodesk’s market opportunity. Carl has always been a driven and passionate change agent for the company, and under his direction Autodesk has transformed from a 2D design company into the worldwide leader of 3D design and engineering software”.

With Carl at the helm, the company has led its industry’s move to subscription and Autodesk was the first to recognize and embrace the implications of cloud and mobile technology on design and production across countless industries around the world. Carl’s leadership has opened up tremendous opportunity for Autodesk. We are grateful that Carl has agreed to remain on the board of directors and serve as a special advisor to support the CEO transition and cloud and subscription business model transition.”

Bass commented, “It’s been my honor to lead Autodesk through this exciting period of growth and change. I’m very proud of everything we accomplished – from both a business and technology perspective. Our cloud and subscription business is well underway. The company’s strategy is working, the management team is strong and it’s the right time for me to step aside. Autodesk is poised for even greater success as it enters this next phase. I’m looking forward to my next adventure but will continue working with the company through my role as a board member and am committed to ensuring that the cloud and subscription business model will continue to be successful.

Board of Directors Moves
Autodesk also announced a new agreement between Autodesk and Sachem Head Capital Management LP (‘Sachem Head’). The agreement calls for two of Sachem Head’s 2016 director nominees, Scott Ferguson and Jeff Clarke, to resign from the board of directors. In addition, Sachem Head Capital has agreed to continue until June 2018 their earlier standstill and voting agreement provisions.

The company also reiterated its non-GAAP business outlook for fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2017 and expects revenue, earnings per share, and subscription additions to be at the high end of guidance disclosed on November 29, 2016.

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