Sun denies co-founder leaving company

Andy Bechtolsheim will stay in part-time role

Sun, in a statement, denies that its co-founder and first employee, Andy Bechtolsheim, is leaving the company.

In an article headlined "Sun loses co-founder to start-up," The New York Times had said Bechtolsheim "is resigning as chief architect of Sun Microsystems to focus on a start-up that is challenging another industry giant, Cisco Systems."

While it's true that Bechtolsheim has founded an Ethernet switch company called Arista Networks and serves as the start-up's chief development officer and chairman (see related story, Ex-Cisco exec Ullal lands at data center start-up), Sun officials say he is also continuing his "present involvement" with the Sun Systems group.

The Times reported that Bechtolsheim would stay with Sun in just a part-time, advisory role. Sun acknowledged that Bechtolsheim will move into a part-time role, but offered a different characterization of his involvement. Bechtolsheim is still listed as the chief architect and senior vice president of the Sun Systems Group on the vendor's Web site.

"There have been a few inaccurate articles published regarding the status of Sun co-founder, Andy Bechtolsheim," Sun said in an e-mail statement. "Sun can confirm that Andy will remain with Sun to continue his present involvement with the Sun Systems group in helping to drive new product architectures, including X64 servers and storage servers, and will continue to work on key strategic initiatives such as HPC. Andy will move to part-time work status and spend the remainder of his time involved in the start-up community where he worked prior to re-joining Sun in 2004."

In the statement, Bechtolsheim is quoted as saying he is "proud of all the accomplishments" he oversaw at Sun and that "I look forward to many more over the coming years."

Bechtolsheim invented Sun's first workstation product, launched after the company's founding in 1982. He left Sun in 1995 to focus on start-ups, and became a vice president at Cisco for a time. He returned to Sun four years ago.

This week's disagreement over the nature of Bechtolsheim's continued role at Sun comes at a time when the company is suffering from financial problems and speculation that it could be bought.

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