Phil White, chairman and chief executive officer of financially embattled database software vendor Informix Corp, is stepping aside, handing the chief executive reins to Robert Finocchio, formerly president of 3Com Systems. White remains as chairman, commenting: The Board is delighted to have an executive of Bob’s caliber in the CEO position at Informix, suggesting that the decision was forced on him by a board no longer happy with letting White fix Informix on his own. In a prepared statement White added that his responsibility will be to focus on ensuring that Informix has the right relationships and partnerships to carry out that strategy, in other words, act as a figurehead and not set policy any longer. The move is an uncanny echo of last August’s kicking upstairs to the largely honorific office of chairman by Sybase Inc’s management board of its then chief executive, Mark Hoffman, who quit the company altogether within a few weeks. The news comes the day before a crucial worldwide user conference being held this week in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, where White and Informix are set to try and reassure their user community that is all well, and only days after the company announced it was postponing announcing its second quarter results, widely expected to reflect ongoing weakness at the Menlo Park vendor. Informix has wobbled since its bold introduction of an object-relational database, Universal Server, at the end of 1996, the over-focus on which led to a loss of $140.1m for its first quarter May, on revenue down 34% to $133.7m, which news in turn leading to a slew of class action suits against White and his fellow officers, including Informix chief technology officer Michael Stonebraker.