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Martin LaMonica

Staff Writer, CNET

Computer Associates International on Tuesday named former IBM executive John Swainson as its next CEO, ending a seven-month search for a permanent replacement for Sanjay Kumar, who was ousted in an accounting scandal.

Within the next four and six months, Swainson will take over the posts of chief executive and president. During that period, he will report to interim CEO Kenneth Cron, a former CEO of Vivendi Universal Games who will then resume his position as director of CA’s board.

Swainson is a 26-year veteran of IBM, where he guided the buildup of the company’s WebSphere middleware product line. Most recently, he was vice president for IBM’s worldwide software sales, a position he attained in July.

In a statement, the current chairman of CA’s board, Lewis Ranieri, lauded Swainson’s track record at IBM.

“John turned a relatively unknown software solution, middleware, into a $1 billion business. He possesses a unique set of skills, including development, sales and marketing that combined, make him a tremendous manager and the right person to lead CA as it continues to move forward,” Ranieiri said.

The appointment of Swainson marks a significant milestone in CA’s effort to turn itself around after a tumultuous year. The company pushed out former CEO Kumar and several other high-level financial and legal executives during an investigation into its accounting practices. Several executive, including Kumar, have been indicted for the $3 billion software company’s practice of improperly extending reporting periods to meet financial expectations.

As part of its housecleaning, in the past year CA has brought on a fresh management team, including former Hewlett-Packard financial executive Jeff Clarke, who is now chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Other former IBM executives, such as executive vice president of sales Greg Corgan, have joined CA’s management ranks as well.

CA is scheduled to hold a press conference on Tuesday to announce Swainson’s appointment.