Oracle app development chief leaves

Project Fusion on track despite departure, company says

A top executive at Oracle in charge of application development has left the company, according to reports, raising questions about the status of its high-profile Fusion applications project as its annual OpenWorld conference nears.

Jesper Andersen was Oracle's senior vice president for application development. He will join Cisco Systems to run a network management team, according to ZDNet blogger Dennis Howlett, who cited an internal company email, which he later confirmed with an Oracle spokeswoman.

According to his online biography, Andersen was "responsible for initiatives that cross Business Applications, including Application Integration Architecture (AIA) and overall Industry Application Strategy."

The Oracle spokeswoman told Howlett that "Jesper was not part of the Fusion development team (which reports to Chuck Rozwat), and that our Fusion plans remain on track."

But according to independent analyst, Frank Scavo, Andersen was considered "the brains behind Oracle's Fusion", its next-generation of application software that is meant to merge together Oracle's apps with the PeopleSoft and JD Edwards lines acquired when it bought PeopleSoft in 2004.

"His departure has to be a loss to Oracle," Scavo says.

Other Oracle observers called Andersen "one of Oracle's thought leaders behind Fusion Applications" and "Mr Fusion".

As recently as OpenWorld 2007, Oracle executives said the first components of Fusion Applications would ship by the end of this year. Fusion Applications are different from Oracle's already available Fusion Middleware.

Oracle has said little publicly since then. It traditionally announces product news at OpenWorld. This year's show is set for September 21-25.

Andersen is the second top executive closely associated with Fusion development to leave Oracle in the past year. John Wookey, who also had the title of senior vice president of application development, left the company in October 2007.

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