Nuance Promotes Rich

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Nuance has named Mike Rich as the new GM of its Imaging Division, with Robert Weideman being tabbed as the GM of the billion-dollar ISV’s Enterprise Division. Rich is the former CEO of Equitrac who joined Nuance through an acquisition about a year ago. Nuance has portrayed the Equitrac acquisition as having been a very successful one, helping draw both Equitrac and Nuance’s eCopy business into larger deals.

Equitrac is a print management solution, while eCopy handles scanning from MFPs. “Studies are showing that more than ever users are looking to buy scanning and printing at the same time,” said Rich, who indicated that he has no major plans for changing the operations of Nuance Imaging, which is on target for $230 million in revenue in Nuance’s fiscal 2012 (ending Sept. 30).

Weideman,who joined Nuance from forms processing and e-forms ISV Cardiff Software in late 2001, will now oversee a $300 million a year enterprise solutions business that has to date primarily focused on voice-recognition and some natural language recognition-driven solutions. He plans to bring Nuance’s imaging products more to the forefront in that division.

Rich spent five years as the CEO of Equitrac, which was generating $60 million in annual revenue when Nuance acquired it for $160 million last May. Prior to that he was the president and CEO of Voice-over-IP ISV NetSpeak. He had previously held high-level positions at AT&T.

On the surface, these moves appear to be Nuance strengthening its management team – being able to keep Rich on board by promoting him and keeping Weideman as well by moving him to a division that can benefit from his expertise. Of course, it’s hard not to notice that Rich’s two previous companies, Equitrac and NetSpeak, where both sold.  True, in recent years, Nuance has put quite a bit of investment into its Imaging Division, but it still makes up only around 20% of the company’s overall revenue (the majority coming from speech recognition-type technology). I guess the $200 million question is, will Nuance spin-off its document imaging division under Rich?

Let me stress that nothing the Weideman or Rich told me during an interview yesterday indicated that this was a possibility, I’m just reading between the lines a bit here.

Anyhow, we’ll have a more complete article based on our interview in next week’s premium edition.

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