SDL — which just recently admitted disappointing results from its customer experience suite – today named Adolfo Hernandez as the third CEO in its 24-year history.

Hernandez succeeds SDL founder Mark Lancaster, who served as CEO at the Maidenhead, England language technology and services provider for most of the past 24 years before stepping down in October. Lancaster was displaced for only 22 months by former SDL CFO John Hunter, who held the top post from February 2011 to November 2012.

David Clayton, executive chairman for SDL, described Hernandez in a statement as "uniquely qualified to lead SDL."  

Changing Times

adolfo hernandez sdl ceo

Hernandez steps into his new role as SDL grapples with a significant strategy shift. The company is selling off the products that once competed with heavy hitters in the customer experience suite world: its social intelligence, campaign management and e-commerce optimization platforms. That will happen over the course of this year, SDL officials said.

Clayton told CMSWire earlier this month SDL's messaging was too orientated toward a suite approach rather than going to market with point-focused CXM solutions.

"Our marketing message has not resonated well with the market. We were engaged in sales situations where really what SDL was offering was not what the market wanted to buy,” he said.

The company earlier this month reported a loss before tax of 25.2 million pounds ($35.67 million) for the year ending Dec. 31 after booking an impairment charge on its restructuring, compared to a profit of 9.4 million pounds ($13.3 million) last year.

A Look at Hernandez

Hernandez, who takes over the SDL CEO post April 18, is a  London-based executive with more than 25 years of experience. SDL expects his "strong software and services background and deep understanding of the technology heritage of SDL’s business" to help him lead the company's expansion of its language and global content technology footprint globally. 

In a statement, Hernandez said SDL has "tremendous opportunity ahead to monetize the next phases of its services and software, specifically in the fields of localization and content." He added, "The people, products and services that have established SDL as a market leader will be a huge base to build upon and drive more shareholder value.”

Language services accounted for $216.4 million or 57 percent of total revenue, up 4 percent for the year ending Dec. 31. Global technologies content added $72 million or 19 percent of revenue, down 1 percent, and language technology brought in $51.9 million or 14 percent of revenue, down 2 percent.

Before joining SDL, Hernandez was CEO of Acision, the mobile messaging market provider, before that company merged with Comverse to form Xura. He also spent four years at Alcatel-Lucent, most recently as executive vice president of Global Software Services and Solutions. 

Hernandez also held senior management roles at Sun Microsystems, Inc., where he was responsible for its global services business, and spent nine years with IBM in London and Munich, where he held a variety of sales leadership positions in the areas of e-business and open systems.