President of PDA Is Chosen for New Chairman Post

PDA Engineering, a Costa Mesa computer software company, named John E. McDonald, president, to the new post of chairman Monday. McDonald will remain chief executive officer.

New arrival Louis A. Delmonico moved up from executive vice president to replace McDonald as president. Delmonico was also named chief operating officer. The company said he will direct PDA's day-to-day operations while McDonald concentrates on long-term strategy.

The company licenses software used by engineers to design new products. It also does engineering consulting.

Delmonico joined the company in May, shortly before it announced disappointing earnings for its 1987 fiscal year. PDA profits peaked in 1985 at $1.6 million, then fell to $1.4 million in 1986 and to $320,000 during the latest fiscal year, which ended June 30.

PDA blamed this year's slump on a $1.5-million reserve the company had to set aside to pay the lease on its old corporate headquarters in Irvine. PDA moved to new headquarters in Costa Mesa this year, before the lease on the old building had expired. The $1.5 million would otherwise have been counted as profit this year.

Still, stock analysts said, the company has performed relatively well in the depressed market for software used in computer-assisted design.

Many potential customers for PDA's software--such as makers of machine tools--never really recovered from the last recession and the resulting soft demand for machinery and equipment, said Peter Heymann, a senior vice president for L. F. Rothschild, Unterberg, Towbin in New York.

"This has been a tough market," said Heymann.

On the other hand, PDA's revenues have continued to grow, rising to $21.7 million during the latest fiscal year from $17.4 million in 1986.

"They're basically a good little company," said Jeff Kilpatrick, president of Newport Securities in Newport Beach. "Their revenues are starting to pick up, even though their earnings have been slow."

Neither McDonald nor Delmonico could be reached for comment Monday.

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