Blackbaud/Convio Overlap Claims 50

Three-and-a-half months after its acquisition of Convio was official, Blackbaud has begun to eliminate duplicative positions. And in what officials are calling an unrelated development, the Charleston, S.C.-based tech company confirmed that former Convio CEO Gene Austin is leaving.

Avoiding the term “layoffs,” there were “50 roles we decided didn’t need to move forward,” Jana Eggers, senior vice president of products and marketing at Blackbaud, said during a telephone interview this morning.

Austin had become president of Blackbaud’s Enterprise Customer Business Unit, reporting to President and CEO Marc Chardon. Blackbaud announced the intention to acquire Austin, Texas-based Convio this past January for $275 million, or $16 per share. The deal officially was completed in May.

Blackbaud (BLKB) opened trading this morning at $24.31 per share, down from its 52-week high of $34, reached in March.

“This is a normal part of doing business,” said Eggers, pointing out that the 50 positions represent less than 2 percent of the entire workforce. Blackbaud has approximately 2,800 employees worldwide, with Convio representing roughly 450 of them. Eggers said she “doesn’t see anything big here,” especially with 120 positions open within the company.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for people to move around, learn new skills. It’s pretty natural when two companies come together,” she said. “Often times there’s some overlap. We don’t need two people doing the same thing,” Eggers added.

“We were waiting on the news about Gene. He decided it was time to go, look for the next CEO gig. He wants to be a CEO; he loves being a CEO. He was very dedicated, and we were extremely grateful, he had a huge impact,” Eggers said, and was critical to the transition.

Austin could not be reached for comment.

The 50 positions were worldwide and not in any particular division or department, with “pieces in all different places,” said Eggers. “Whenever you do something like this, that impacts roles, you look as far ahead in the future that you can. We’re a business like you’re a business, we adjust as we move forward,” she said. “Any move we make in the next year, people will say it’s related to the acquisition, but it’s not.”

Austin’s impending departure had been in the works but was announced during what Eggers described as a routinely scheduled “all-hands” meeting within the past week where the firm also announced the eliminations. A successor will be announced next week. “We have a replacement. Obviously, we respect his and his company’s needs,” she added.

Austin was among five Convio executives who made the move to Blackbaud. The other four remain with Blackbaud.