• United States

ITAA taps Sybase’s Robert Laurence as interim president

Jan 12, 20063 mins
Enterprise Applications

The Information Technology Association of America has named Sybase Vice President Robert Laurence as its interim president. He replaces Harris Miller, who left the organization last week to run for the U.S. Senate in Virginia.

In an announcement last week, the ITAA said that Laurence, a vice president of public-sector sales at Sybase, will lead the trade group while it searches for a permanent new president. Miller had served as president of the ITAA for more than 10 years.

In an interview today, Miller said he left the ITAA to run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Virginia, where he hopes to unseat first-term Republican Sen. George Allen. Miller said he began considering a run for the Senate in October.

Dave Sanders, chairman of the ITAA and president of commercial solutions at Perot Systems, said the group will now put together a search committee to find a permanent president. Several possible candidates have already inquired about the position, he said.

The ITAA president is a full-time, paid executive who is the spokesman and public face of the group, Sanders said. “We appreciate the significant contributions of Harris Miller to ITAA over the past 10 years,” he said in a statement. “Harris has been a strong voice for the IT industry and [has] done an outstanding job as an advocate for the ITAA policy agenda.”

Laurence has been involved with the ITAA since the early 1990s and said in a statement that he will continue to push its programs and agenda. Laurence has served as chairman and vice chairman of the ITAA board of directors and as a member of the enterprise solutions board of directors. He has also served as chairman of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance, of which the ITAA is the secretariat.

Last week, Oracle, which had been a member of the ITAA, withdrew from the group partly because Miller left to run for the Senate. Oracle spokesman Robert Hoffman said last week that the company feels Allen is doing a good job on technology issues and shouldn’t be challenged by Miller.

Allen, a former governor of Virginia, was a vocal co-sponsor in 2005 of an anti-spyware bill, as well as a bill to extend a moratorium on taxes unique to the Internet. Many political observers have pointed to Allen as a potential candidate for U.S. president in 2008.

The ITAA, which was formed in 1961 and has about 350 corporate members, deals with global public policy issues, offers business networking and is an advocate for the continued growth of the IT industry. It has been staunch backer of efforts to increase the number of controversial H-1B visas available to IT workers as well as a proponent of an expanded federal research and development tax credit for U.S. companies.


Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist and freelance writer who worked as a staff reporter for Computerworld from 2000 to 2008. Weiss covers enterprise IT from cloud computing to Hadoop to virtualization, enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM and BI, Linux and open source, and more. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves and watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies.

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