Shares of Novell (NOVL) moved higher Thursday after the company announced its CEO and chief financial officer would leave the company.

The open-source software developer said it has named President and Chief Operating Officer Ronald W. Hovsepian to the additional position of CEO, replacing Jack L. Messman who "will leave Novell's employment."

Also leaving is CFO Joseph S. Tibbets, Jr. The company named Dana C. Russell, the company's vice president of finance and corporate controller, as interim chief financial officer while a search begins for a replacement.

Novell also named director Thomas G. Plaskett as nonexecutive chairman.

"The Board concluded that a management change would be the best way to accelerate the execution of our growth strategy and build value for shareholders," Plaskett said in a statement. "Ron is the ideal choice to lead the company as we continue with our transition to Linux-based products and identity and resource management and leverage our unique support of mixed source environments."

Novell's stock was recently up 38 cents, or 6.3%, to $6.38 -- a sharp contrast to its performance over the past three months as investors grow increasingly convinced that the company is losing the competition with

Red Hat

(RHAT)

.