SANgate Gets New CEO

After losing their last one in court they choose Patrick Courtin, who looks to be EMC-proof

December 22, 2001

2 Min Read
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SANgate Systems has appointed a new chief executive officer (see SANgate Names Chairman/CEO), less than one month after the last one was forced out of the company by litigation from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).

Patrick Courtin started his job this week at SANgate, which is making a high-end SAN appliance for multivendor storage environments. He steps into the post vacated suddenly by Doron Kempel.

Kempel, a former EMC employee hired by SANgate's board in September (see SANgate Snags Top EMC Exec), was judged by a Boston County court in November to be in violation of non-compete clauses in his EMC contract (see EMC Forces Out SANgate CEO). He left the job last month and won't be able to work for SANgate in any capacity until August 2002.

The suit was the latest of an unspecified number of noncompete actions EMC has taken against employees who've left to join startups (see EMC Sues Another Ex). In another case, EMC sued former employee Todd Gresham for moving to Eurologic Systems, where he has been barred from working as an employee.

EMC, which has been criticized for taking action against startups whose defense resources are limited, says it's only defending its rights."It's in the best interest of EMC and its investors to protect its intellectual capital by enforcing employee agreements," says a spokesperson. "We don't choose specific employees or companies. But when an employee agreement is broken, we take action."

SANgate, stung by the judgment against Kempel, is obviously happy to put the problem in the past. "EMC put this company in a very difficult position," Courtin says. "A startup can't lose a leader without some emotional strain. Fortunately, I was available. Doron is moving on with his life, and so are we."

Not being from EMC, Courtin is safe from that company's litigiousness, and he makes it clear he's ready to tackle SANgate's cause.

"I look at this as a great opportunity... The storage business is more and more interesting," he says. "I was attracted by the story SANgate's weaving. If we can put product in the street in the right way, we have a very bright future."

SANgate hasn't been specific about its product plans, and Courtin isn't giving away any more information. But he acknowledges that if the engineering team is on track, SANgate should be able to introduce product in 2002.Like Kempel before him, Courtin's had extensive experience managing and marketing companies that sell complicated software. He joins SANgate from Gensym Corp., which makes expert-system software that's used in manufacturing, network management, supply chain modeling, and e-commerce. Courtin had been president and CEO there since November 1999. Prior to that, he was CEO of M3i Systems Inc.

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