Software Maker's Top Executive Resigns : Transition: State of the Art appointed David W. Hanna, who plans to focus on growth. Reason why David S. Samuels left was not given.


David S. Samuels, who shepherded accounting software maker State of the Art Inc. through its initiation as a publicly traded company, has resigned as chairman, chief executive and president.

The board voted Monday to replace him in two of those positions--chairman and chief executive--with David W. Hanna, 54, a company director and industry veteran. The job of president remains vacant.

Hanna most recently served as president of Ventura Software Inc., a division of Xerox Corp., where his assignment was to restructure and find a buyer for the division. It has since been sold.

Hanna said he brings experience in mergers and acquisitions to the job.

"My focus will be different" from Samuels', he said. "We'll be concentrating on a growth strategy to allow as much growth as we can achieve in '94 and '95."

He said he plans to expand both the product line and the channels of distribution.

Irvine-based State of the Art, founded in 1981, raised $20 million in its May, 1991, initial public stock offering. It is now sitting on a $25-million cash reserve.

"It's nice to see a company with a heavy cash balance, but this seems excessive," said Steven C. DeLuca, an analyst with venture capital firm Cruttenden & Co. in Irvine. "The investors must want more return on their money."

He said the change in leadership was a surprise, however, given the company's financial health.

State of the Art posted a profit of $3.9 million during the first nine months of this year, up 26% from the same period a year earlier. Nine-month revenue was up 36% to $19.4 million.

Samuels was a software dealer before joining State of the Art as chief executive in June, 1985. He is credited with building a network of small accounting firms and consulting companies that distribute the company's products.

The company did not explain why Samuels left, and he could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Hanna has served as a director of State of the Art since 1985 and as president of the company from May to August, 1985.

He is also chairman of his own consulting business, Kelly/Hanna Capital Management Inc.

State of the Art's stock closed at $8.25 a share, unchanged, in Tuesday's trading on the Nasdaq market.

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