Caldwell Partners Lands Chief Development Officer for JDA Software

August 7, 2017 – Executive search firm Caldwell Partners International has placed Desikan Madhavanur as executive vice president and chief development officer of JDA Software in Scottsdale, AZ. Jim Bethmann, managing partner and co-leader of Caldwell’s TMT & IT services and information security practices, led the search.

Mr. Madhavanur will be responsible for the company’s product solution strategy, development and delivery. He is charged with investing in and developing JDA’s solutions across supply chain planning, execution and retail while harnessing the collective power of cloud, internet of things, analytics and big data to bring next generation software-as-a-service solutions to market.

He previously worked at CA Technologies, where he served as senior vice president and business center head for data center orchestration. There, he had P&L and growth responsibility for a $1.2 billion business unit focused on driving modern application delivery, deployment, management, user adoption and profitable monetization. Mr. Madhavanur’s accomplishments included transitioning older legacy products to modern software architectures, developing a new business model to move products from a license to subscription service, and transforming the product release process from waterfall releases to Agile sprints while meeting release commitments.

Prior to CA Technologies, Mr. Madhavanur was GVP of engineering, emerging technologies and general manager of products & strategy at E2Open. He has also held leadership positions at JP Morgan and i2 Technologies (later acquired by JDA).

JDA Software is a provider of seamless supply-chain planning and execution solutions for retailers, manufacturers, logistics providers and wholesale distributors. The company has more than 4,000 global customers, including 73 of the top 100 retailers, 71 of the top 100 consumer goods companies and 13 of the top 16 3PLs.


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Mr. Bethmann has more than 30 years of leadership experience, including 15 years in executive search, 10 years leading technology company operations on three continents and 12 years as an active duty and reserve surface warfare naval officer. He is an industry specialist in technology, telecoms, IT services/ outsourcing and defense. At Caldwell Partners, his focus is recruiting board directors and C-suite executives in software, IT services, cloud/ outsourcing, Internet/ media, telecommunications, hardware/ systems and defense markets on a global basis.

Mr. Bethmann recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the search and take us inside the dynamics of hiring top flight development officers, including where to find such talent and the increased demand for the role.

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Jim, what type of executive was JDA seeking and what made this one just the right fit?

Our client was seeking a senior development executive with complex software product development experience, product management experience, go-to-market solutions expertise and specific experience in development organizational transformation utilizing 2017-era technology tools for new project and solutions development and legacy software product conversion.

In regard to chief development officers, where do you find the best talent? 

There is super talent in many organizations, especially the well-known large software product shops like Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Amazon AWS, Google and others. But we like CDOs with large and small entrepreneurial experience that requires broader leadership skills and usually a more comprehensive development experience toolset in different shops like Agile, Waterfall, etc. We also look for experiences in different development areas, such as applications, middleware, database, cloud. In Desikan’s case, he was a perfect fit for JDA having had large and small shop experience, coupled with multiple industry-focused solution experience from skills developed at i2, E2Open, CA, to name a few. Additionally, keep in mind the importance of leading remote development organizations working simultaneously together all over the world.

“There has most definitely been an increase in demand for chief development officers as the role has increased in importance over the past three to five years. Qualified, successful chief development officers are a limited breed.”

What traits / characteristics make for an ideal chief development officer?

Key capabilities and skills at the chief development officer level, in addition to development experience and leadership capabilities described above, include the ability to manage up and across the organization. And to have the global presence and sophistication to be the “technical” mouthpiece for the organization in all capacities, such as board presentations, analyst presentations, customers, etc.

Has there been an increased demand for this role? Has the position gained importance in the C-suite?

Yes, there has most definitely been an increase in demand for the role, and it has increased in importance over the past three to five years. This has primarily occurred as a result of the explosion of software application companies coupled with movement to cloud-based solutions and concern for broad cyber solutions as well. Qualified, successful chief development officers are a limited breed.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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