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Tony Zingale to Retire as Jive CEO, Elisa Steele Named President

Zingale will remain as executive chairman, while Steele has the inside track to take over as CEO.

Jive Software

Tony Zingale, the executive who has run Jive Software for five years and who saw the company through its initial public offering in 2011, is stepping down as the company’s CEO. He will remain as executive chairman.

Elisa Steele, the executive VP who joined Jive early this year, was promoted to president and will effectively be the interim CEO while the company’s board conducts a search for a new CEO. The moves will be effective Nov. 10.

The news coincided with Jive’s third quarter earnings report. Sales, at $46.6 million, were better than the $44.3 million analysts had expected and rose 25 percent year on year. Jive finished the quarter with a loss of four cents a share, less than half the size of the nine-cent loss that analysts had predicted. Jive shares rose by 71 cents or more than 12 percent to $6.60 in after-hours trading.

In an interview with Re/code, Zingale said, “It seemed a good time to hand over the day-to-day operations of the company while I remain executive chairman” as Jive enters its planning phases for 2015. “I will stay involved in areas where I can most help Elisa to be successful.”

The company’s board intends to conduct a thorough search that will include both internal and external candidates, Zingale said, but he made no bones about his hope is that Steele gets the board’s final nod. The Board has retained the firm Russell Reynolds Associates to conduct a search. “The board has a responsibility to exhaust all its choices. But Elisa is the leading candidate internally. She’s been my partner at this company in rejuvenating our strategy.”

elisa_steel_jiveSteele joined Jive in January as its chief marketing officer and was quickly promoted to executive VP for marketing and products. She has previously worked in executive roles at Microsoft, Skype, Yahoo and NetApp. She has been a fan of Jive, she said, since becoming a customer in 2007. “Tony and I have been working on a strategic plan since January, and a lot of the changes that we’ve already put in place are starting to work,” she said.

Jive is one of a handful of companies that builds “social enterprise” software that aims to streamline the way employees communicate and collaborate on projects within a company. Its rivals include Microsoft’s Yammer and’s Chatter service, as well as newer products like Slack.

The company has suffered some bumps in the road since going public nearly three years ago. In March, Re/code reported that the company had explored a possible sale. That process had ended by May when it announced a strategic tie-up with Cisco Systems under which the networking giant retired its own collaboration products in order to resell Jive’s.

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