May 1992

New prez backs vision

by Dan Ruby

Redwood City, CA: NeXT's new president and chief operating officer, Peter van Cuylenburg, said in an interview that he agreed to join NeXT because he supports the company's new strategic focus on custom applications.

After declining several previous offers to join NeXT, "I have bought into the view that NeXT can be a $1 billion company," he said. "What NeXT is doing for software development in the 90s is as important as what Macintosh did for user friendliness in the '80s.

"There has been an important change in focus during the last year," said van Cuylenburg. "There is a recognition that we are not trying to create a second-generation PC market, but applying workstation capabilities to the market for professional, job-specific applications."

Van Cuylenburg, 43, was most recently chief executive of Mercury Communications, a public telecommunications company in England. He also spent 16 years at Texas Instruments (TI), ending as vice-president of TI's information technology group. Van Cuylenburg will join Steve Jobs in a newly created "office of the president." He will also join NeXT's board of directors.

He said his background at TI paralleled NeXT's current focus on custom applications. At TI, van Cuylenburg changed the marketing focus for the company's Explorer workstations from artificial intelligence to rapid prototyping and development of applications in the transportation market.

Van Cuylenburg said he did not expect any difficulties in working together with Jobs. "Steve is a lot older and wiser than he was when John Sculley came to Apple," he said. "He understands that building a global business is multifaceted challenge and that he alone doesn't have all of the skills needed to do that. I like building and designing companies to work well just as Steve likes to do that for computers."

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