Lyons Named CEO After Steering Ashton-Tate Revival

William P. Lyons, who has directed Ashton-Tate’s thus-far successful turnaround efforts, was rewarded for his achievements Wednesday with a promotion to chief executive and a seat on the Torrance-based software publisher’s board.

Lyons, 46, who has been president and chief operating officer since April, will remain president. Carmelo J. Santoro, chairman and chief executive of Silicon Systems Inc. in Santa Ana, continues as chairman of Ashton-Tate’s board.

Company officials said that although the new title would not bring additional responsibilities because Lyons has already been directing the company’s daily activities, the promotion was designed to reward Lyons for his achievements: the release of a new and well-received version of Ashton-Tate’s primary software program, dBase, and its first quarterly profit in nearly two years.

After the release in October, 1988, of an error-riddled version of dBase, a database management program that accounts for more than 60% of the company’s revenues, Ashton-Tate suffered through a series of blunders and problems that led to total losses of more than $50 million from early 1989 through 1990. Lyons, who joined the company in late 1988 after a 19-year stint with International Business Machines, took over operating responsibility of the company in April, 1990, from former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Edward M. Esber, Jr.


“The board has elected Bill Lyons as CEO in recognition of the significant accomplishments he has made during his tenure as president. He has returned the company to profitability, been instrumental in delivering a stable and reliable dBase IV 1.1, and renewed the company’s focus on customer service,” Santoro said.