September 15, 2016 – Executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles has placed technology industry veteran Dr. Agei S. Gopal as president and chief operating officer of ANSYS, Inc. He will become chief executive officer in January.
James E. Cashman, who has served as ANSYS’ CEO since 2000, is stepping down at the end of the year. He will stay with the company and become chairman of the board of directors. Heidrick’s search included the customary review of both internal and external candidates.
Dr. Gopal is a 25-year industry veteran with extensive management and business development experience at large software and technology companies. He has held leadership roles at companies including Hewlett-Packard, CA Technologies and IBM. He also brings start-up experience, having co-founded ReefEdge Networks. He joined Silver Lake in 2013 as an operating partner. Most recently, Dr. Gopal served as interim president and COO at Symantec, a digital security firm.
A Technology Leader With a Proven Record
“There is no better person than Ajei to lead ANSYS through this pivotal time in the company’s expansion,” Ronald W. Hovsepian, who currently serves as chairman of the ANSYS board, and will assume the role of lead independent director as part of this transition. “He brings a proven track record, expertise managing the scale and complexity of a global multi-billion dollar company and critical skills in software strategy, engineering, product management and development.”
“Ajei has profound knowledge of our business and strategic direction, as well as significant financial discipline,” Mr. Hovsepian continued. “We are excited to enter our next phase of growth under his leadership.”
Dr. Gopal said: “I am honored by the opportunity to lead ANSYS. With an accelerating pace of innovation, ANSYS is on an exciting growth trajectory as it executes on its long-term plans. Jim’s vision and tremendous leadership have set a high bar, and I am committed to building on our standard of excellence and pushing the boundaries of innovation to help customers solve their most complex design challenges.”
Ansys is a NASDAQ-traded company that produces engineering simulation software that helps test a multitude of things, from rocket launches to wearable technology. It publishes engineering analysis software across a range of disciplines, including finite element analysis, structural analysis, computational fluid dynamics, explicit and implicit methods, and heat transfer.
Technology companies today are experiencing tremendous challenges and fundamental change, and according to recruiters, their leadership requirements have never been so demanding, nor complex.
“Technology companies today have a number of challenges to contend with – but I think the most prominent issue is that clients are looking to younger professionals today versus those with more experience but who lack knowledge on what is new and cutting edge,” said Alan J. Work, president and founder of New York-based search firm Work&Partners.
“It’s evident that technology is changing so quickly that one can barely keep up with it. Therefore, companies are looking at a much broader scope of candidate versus in years past when they may have considered only a very seasoned professional.”
Heidrick & Struggles’ technology practice serves a number of prominent technology companies, as well as those at the forefront of cutting edge technologies. The firm’s practice focuses on searches for professionals in big data & analytics, cloud, mobility, cyber security, digital marketing, hardware systems & semiconductor, and software & Internet.
The practice is led by managing partner Michael Cullen. He focuses on recruiting board directors, CEOs, officer and vice president-level candidates for private, venture-backed and publicly traded companies in the technology sector across multiple verticals, including enterprise software, web services, semiconductor, security, storage, wireless, telecommunications, and database technologies.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media