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John Couch, Former Apple Executive, Named New CEO for Pangea Systems

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OAKLAND, Calif.--Pangea Systems here has named former Apple executive John Couch as its new CEO. Couch replaces Joel Bellenson, a founder of the company, who intends to take what one company official called a "leadership role" with the bioinformatics software vendor's Scientific Advisory Board, which was formed this summer.

Couch is a computer scientist who led the development of the Lisa interface at Apple. While his appointment had not been officially announced, he was greeting customers and representing Pangea at the recent Genome Sequencing and Analysis Conference in Hilton Head, SC. Prior to his appointment as CEO he had already been working with Pangea for several weeks as an executive-at-large for Mayfield Group, the venture capital firm that led Pangea's financing. Couch was initially brought in to help with strategic issues and then became a candidate for the permanent post, BioInform learned.

One company source told BioInform Pangea had "a long and difficult search" to fill the CEO position, losing at least one candidate to a competitor. Eventually, the firm's venture capital backers stepped in to help. Couch joins Pangea at a time when the company is focusing on providing integrated database management and analysis software systems utilizing open-platform technology that will integrate numerous software programs. An internal source described Pangea as having a multifaceted software development team where computer science is the main criterion, but a scientific background is also valuable.

Bellenson will still be involved in Pangea's strategic operations, but as of BioInform press time he did not have a new title. The advisory board with which he will be working closely includes Fred Cohen of the University of California, San Francisco; Barry Honig of Columbia University; Doug Brutlag of the Stanford University Medical School; and Phil Green of the University of Washington.

Founded in 1991, Pangea aims to provide software tools that connect, organize, and analyze information for drug discovery operations. The company markets what it calls "an open computing platform based on industrial-strength relational database management systems and Java- and CORBA-enabled web-based technologies."

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