Titan leadership changes with company direction

Eric DeMarco, named president and chief operating officer of Titan Corp. less than a year ago, will be leaving the company in mid-March, Titan officials announced Thursday.

Gene Ray, Titan's chairman and chief executive officer, is assuming DeMarco's duties.

The announcement, made less than a week before the company is scheduled to release its fourth quarter and annual results for 2002, triggered a sharp fall in the company's stock on Thursday, which closed at $8.02 per share, down $3.20.

Company officials said that DeMarco is departing because of Titan's decision in July 2002 to exit the commercial sector and focus on the government marketplace.

"We had a strategy of creating, building and launching technology-based businesses out of our defense-based businesses," Ray said. "Mr. DeMarco really was the driver of those commercial businesses? [His] strengths were on the commercial side."

Ray said he has agreed to serve for another three years, "at the pleasure of the board of directors." The board will be conducting a search for a new president/COO, he said.

Stephen Levenson, senior vice president of New York investment bank Gerard Klauer Mattison, said the market reacted prematurely to DeMarco's departure.

Titan "is a company with a very solid and rapidly growing backlog. They've proven their ability to bid on and win large and complex awards," Levenson said. "A number of other firms leaped to the conclusion that his leaving a week before [the earnings release] had to do with results. ? If there had been a problem [with the numbers], Titan would have disclosed it."

Titan, based in San Diego, provides information and communications systems solutions and services to the Defense Department intelligence community and other federal agencies. The company has approximately 10,000 employees and annual sales of around $1.4 billion.

In one of its largest recent wins, the company was selected by the National Security Agency in November as prime contractor for the Enterprise Architecture and Decision Support program, a contract with a potential value of $533 million.

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