Jive Selects New President as CEO Retires

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What do you do after you are appointed as president of Jive Software?

“Pack for Disney,” certainly isn’t Elisa Steele’s answer. Instead she’s spending the day talking with investors, discussing the company’s better than expected third-quarter results and getting ready to lead its day-to-day operations come Monday.

There’s nothing but confidence and excitement in her voice. As executive vice president of marketing and products at the social business software provider that Gartner named a Leader in its Workplace Social Software Magic Quadrant earlier this year, Steele has overseen a number of innovations, updates and integrations such as Find Your WorkType,  Jive X (which is used for external collaboration), its integration with cloud-based productivity apps (Office 365 and Google) and more. In less than the year she’s been at Jive, Steele has been promoted twice.

Grow or Sell?

Alan Pelz-Sharpe, research director – social business applications at 451 Research, said Steele’s promotion to president might be just what the doctor ordered.

“Realistically the firm is going through a period of adjusting to some unrealistic investor expectations,” he says. “It needs to form a new strategy to grow and/or find a buyer. Elisa provides that change — big company software experience, she’s ballsy and frankly a new face not associated with the IPO.”

Steele has previously held executive management roles at Microsoft, Skype, Yahoo! and NetApp.

We should note that though Steele has not been appointed to Jive’s CEO role, she was named to a newly created 'Office of the CEO’ and will be responsible for day-to-day operations at the company until a CEO is hired.

Tony Zingale, who has been Jive Software’s CEO since 2010 and Chairman of the Board since 2011, has apparently chosen to retire though he’s not going to disconnect from the company completely. Instead he’ll remain as the executive chairman focused primarily on strategic customer and partner relationships.

These changes were made public during the company’s third quarter earnings call with investors today when it announced better than expected results. That being said, the company is not yet profitable.

Alan Lepofsky, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research, said Zingale’s decision to retire, before his replacement is found, shouldn’t cause panic. Zingale has been at Jive for quite some time, he points out, explaining that it’s somewhat natural for him to move on.

Steele’s appointment surprised him, however, not because of her capabilities but because she’s been at Jive for such a short time.

He also points out that Jive’s chief product officer Clara Liang also has a lot to offer. “She has a very good pulse on product direction,” he explains. Liang, by the way, reports to Steele.

Jive’s software, for what it’s worth, is up in afterhours trading.