VeriSign founder Jim Bidzos returns as chairman

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The game of musical chairs continues at leading domain registrar and certificate authority VeriSign, as the company announced late Tuesday that founder Jim Bidzos has taken the role of chairman of the board, replacing Edward Mueller.

Mueller, the former chief executive officer at specialty retailer Williams-Sonoma, served as chairman at VeriSign for nearly three months, but resigned after accepting the position of chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications International, a voice, video and data communications provider.

Mueller had been part of the management shake-up in May, when Stratton Sclavos, VeriSign’s former chairman, president and CEO, resigned. He was replaced by Mueller as chairman and William Roper Jr. as president and CEO.

Bidzos, who headed RSA Security from 1988 to 1999, served as Mountain View-Calif.-based VeriSign’s first president and CEO in 1995 and acted as chairman to 2001, when he took over as vice chairman.

"I’m excited to be back as VeriSign’s chairman, and energized about our future opportunities as a business," he said in a company statement.

"VeriSign is the key provider of critical infrastructure for billions of digital interactions every day for internet look-ups and security certificates.

"This is a powerful base from which to develop and grow new opportunities as a provider of core infrastructure for mobile messaging, content delivery and identity services. We are going to be very focused in those three areas."

Still, Mueller’s departure and Bidzos’ promotion may signal VeriSign is looking to shed some of its telecommunications services, which includes connectivity, roaming and VoIP services, analysts said today.

John Pescatore, a Gartner vice president and research fellow, told that Bidzos’ background implies VeriSign may be looking to concentrate resources on its security business.

"He definitely understands the crypto business, but if you look at all this other stuff VeriSign does, that’s not his background," Pescatore said. "VeriSign has a strong brand name. These businesses of [SSL] certificates and domain names, when the internet grows, those grow. But [VeriSign is] scattered in so many other directions.

It’s very hard to point to a company succeeding when you can’t say what kind of company they are."

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