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Crossroads Systems: Page 2 of 4

By late August, Crossroads had renewed the Compaq relationship (see Crossroads Ends Q3, Adds CEO). Perhaps not coincidentally, the company announced the return of Compaq simultaneously with a decision to make Larry Sanders, Crossroads' current president and COO, the CEO of the company effective Nov. 1.

Sanders, a storage industry veteran who joined Crossroads in March of 2000 after leading the American hard disk drive business of Fujitsu Ltd.'s (KLS: FUJI.KL), has the kind of operational experience that entrepreneurs like Crossroads founder (and outgoing CEO) Brian Smith often lack.

"Brian is really more entrepreneurial at heart, really more of a stage-one kind of guy," says Sanders, who is confident that he can lead Crossroads to the land of profitability.

But to get there, Crossroads must continue to correct some of the business excesses born of late 1999 and early 2000, when the company's red-hot IPO and stratospheric stock price fueled some decisions that are hampering Crossroads now.

"There was an exuberance then [in 2000], and the company put a lot of infrastructure in place in anticipation of hyper growth," Sanders says, talking of a time when Crossroads' stock price hit an all-time high of almost $179 per share, on Feb. 22, 2000.