L&H CEO steps down, cofounder leaves board

January 31, 2001

John Duerden has called it quits as CEO of Lernout & Hauspie, although he remains on the board of directors. Philippe Bodson, formerly head of Belgian utility firm Tractebel, has been tapped to fill the vacancy as CEO. Meanwhile, company cofounder Jo

John Duerden has called it quits as CEO of Lernout & Hauspie, although he remains on the board of directors. Philippe Bodson, formerly head of Belgian utility firm Tractebel, has been tapped to fill the vacancy as CEO. Meanwhile, company cofounder Jo Lernout has stepped down from the board, although he will continue as chief technology officer.

In his first six months at the helm of the struggling voice recognition firm, Duerden ventured to Korea in search of $100 million in missing corporate funds and guided the company's first corporate steps toward bankruptcy protection (SCAN, 12/20/00). Now the odyssey is over.

The executive changes are coming just as L&H embarks on a massive restructuring effort as part of its bankruptcy protection plan, which has been granted in both the U.S. and Belgium. The company plans to cut 1200 jobs (about 20% of its workforce), shut down operations in South Korea, and withdraw from the retail market.