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October 21, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 11:28am


By CBR Staff Writer

Chip design automation company Cadence Design Inc has lost its charismatic president and chief executive Joe Costello to Knowledge Universe LLC, a Los Angeles-based holding company dedicated to buying up companies in the ‘lifelong educational software’ market. Knowledge Universe’s founders are none other than one Mr Larry Ellison of Oracle Corp and Michael Milken, the apparently reformed one-time ‘junk bond king’ (CI No 3,244). The company’s mission is to provide ‘life-long’ learning for individuals and businesses, and it is busy acquiring companies in educational software, vocational training, educational toys, temporary staff recruitment, project management and consultancy. Knowledge Universe currently owns CRT Group Plc, based in London (CI No 2,971), Productivity Point International Inc, consultancy Nextera, and educational toy company LeapFrog Inc. Costello, who sat on Oracle’s board, has apparently known Ellison for many years. He will become vice president of Knowledge Universe. He leaves Cadence after some 13 years, during which he is reputed to have been the visionary behind the company’s growth and success. Insiders at Cadence say Costello’s departure was a surprise, but not surprising, since he was the world’s best kept secret as a chief executive. Cadence says Costello was ready for a new challenge, having seen his vision and strategy put in place at the company, which has just reported its best third quarter ever. Cadence has immediately announced his successor, Jack Harding, who joined the company earlier this year when it merged with its long-term partner Cooper & Chyan Technology Inc (CI No 3,030), where he was president and chief executive. Cadence says Costello would never have left if the company had not been strong and doing well. He had put a strong management team in place, which he believes will continue to execute the strategy he developed, and the company says it does not expect any changes to this team. Harding is said to be an operational leader, and will not try to follow Costello’s act on the personality front. He is however dedicated to continuing the fight against rival Avant! Corp, which is accused of stealing Cadence’s semiconductor design tools (CI No 3,256). On taking on the top job, Harding apparently said of Avant!, they were crooks on Friday, and they’re still crooks today.

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