In a move that surprised Wall Street, Bill Harris resigned as
CEO on Thursday after just 13 months on the job, vowing to start his own business in the Internet sector.
Intuit, the leading maker of personal finance software, said Bill Campbell, the company's previous CEO, will return to the position temporarily to search for a replacement.
The management shake-up was announced after the stock market closed. In after-hours trading, Intuit's shares fell more than 4 points. They had previously fallen 2 11/16 in regular
trading, closing at 100 9/16, on a day when technology stocks overall came under heavy selling pressure.
Harris, 43, joined Intuit when it acquired
, the tax software maker, in 1993. He said he hopes to return to running a small company.
"The things I've been doing at Intuit have gotten larger and larger," Harris said in an interview. "I've been feeling that frustration a long time." He will remain a board member, the company said.
Harris said Intuit's current success provided an opportunity to change its management. Intuit's stock price is well above its 52-week low of 34 1/2. In the last six months, about 20% of the company's revenue has come from the Internet, Harris said.
Scott Appleby, an analyst who covers Intuit for
BancBoston Robertson Stephens
, believes "the news is not good news" and that the company will have trouble replacing Harris.
"I don't think they pushed him out," Appleby said. "Of all the Internet companies, Intuit probably is the most like an older corporate structure," he said. BancBoston Robertson Stephens has not done underwriting for Intuit.
The company said it will look for a CEO who is experienced in big-budget finance.
Michael Wallace, an analyst for
Warburg Dillon Read
, believes the shake-up does not indicate short-term management problems, citing once-and-future CEO Campbell's familiarity with operations and the recent rollout of the latest Quicken software. Warburg Dillon Read has not done underwriting for Intuit.
Scott Cook, chairman of Intuit's executive committee, feels the announcement will not hurt the company's market value.
"Shareholders in our company are here for the long term," Cook said. "They're here for the e-finance."
Robbie Stephens' Appleby thinks Intuit's stock should retain its value "outside of tomorrow morning."