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January 23, 2009

Lervik resigns from Microsoft

We've learned today that John Marcus Lervik, the founder of FAST Search and Transfer and the architect behind their acquisition by Microsoft last year, has resigned from Microsoft. His duties will be assumed by Bjørn Olstad.

Mr. Lervik has certainly been under pressure over the last months regarding alleged accounting anomalies in FAST's accounting practices in 2006 and 2007 when he ran the public company.  That's certainly been a distraction for him and for his colleagues. Others are speculating that his departure is due to sales or technology issues at Microsoft, which just announced yesterday layoffs of 5000 employees. And there are questions about the integration of FAST ESP into SharePoint, or the competition from the Google Search Appliance.

On the other hand, it's been a year since the Microsoft acquisition - perhaps a coincidence, but the same period key executives need to wait before leaving an acquired company without losing massive bonus payouts. It is possible Markus just wants to go off and start over with a new company, and we'll not know the answer until we see what he chooses to do next.

Lervik did lead FAST through a number of major deals over his tenure, and was responsible for much of what FAST has done right over that period. Let's see what happens next!


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