When tech founders sell out: RevZilla, Qlik need new CEOs

Both Philadelphia-area software companies were bought by out-of-town private-equity firms last year

Two Philadelphia-area software innovators bought by out-of-town private-equity firms last year are looking for new CEOs after their longtime bosses left.

Qlik, the Swedish-founded, Radnor-based business-data analytics company that competes with Tableau and Spotfire and Excel-based packages from Microsoft, is looking for a new skipper after Lars Björk announced plans to leave. After 17 years in charge, “I am proud of the innovative offerings and exponential growth we’ve achieved,” Björk said in a statement. David Murphy, former president of Blue Coat software, is stepping in as interim CEO while the board searches for Bjork’s replacement.

Murphy is a Qlik director and managing director at Thoma Bravo, the Chicago investment firm that bought Qlik for $3 billion last year after activist shareholders pushed Bjork to boost slowing sales growth or cut costs. Seth Boro, Murphy’s colleague at Thoma Bravo, praised the departing Bjork for “building a world-class software business” and “developing one of the most unique corporate cultures in the technology space.”

Meanwhile, at Revzilla in South Philly, 10 months after high-energy family-man CEO Anthony Bucci stepped down from the top job at the growing Navy Yard-based online motorcycle-gear seller, there has been no permanent replacement.

Bucci and CFO David Price left soon after Revzilla was combined with store chain Cycle Gear by Boston private-equity investor J.W. Childs, which controls the combined company. Matt Kull is still interim boss, and there has been no permanent replacement.

Last spring, Childs named Adidas executive Nic Vu to run Revzilla and Cycle Gear, combined into a holding company dubbed Comoto. But what the company called “an unexpected change in personal circumstances” prevented Vu from occupying the job, and Kull remains in the position. The search continues, spokeswoman Melissa Grimm confirmed.


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