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Hearsay CEO Clara Shih Steps Aside

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Mike Boese (left) and Clara Shih (Photo: Radu Ranga)

Hearsay Systems says its longtime leader, Clara Shih, has passed the CEO baton to Mike Boese, who was named chief operating officer in the first quarter.   

Shih who started the tech firm focused on the use of compliant messaging by financial services firms on Sept. 1, 2009, with Steve Garrity   will stay on the board of directors and serve as executive chairperson.

“Just like advisors spend a lot of time thinking about succession planning and how they want to go about it, I’ve been thinking about that same journey myself over the past year, and this meant finding the right leader to take Hearsay into its next chapter,” Shih said in an interview on Wednesday.

“In the past six months, the stars have really aligned with our product utilization surging because of the pandemic,” she added. “Within a few months of Mike starting at Hearsay, he’s aligned our teams, I’ve witnessed how he leads in the midst of a global health crisis, … and that’s given me the clarity and confidence to know that he’s the right person for the job.”

Boese has some 25 years of leadership experience at software firms like SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle. Most recently, he was co-founder and CEO of Plantt and CEO of Certent, a fintech software-as-a-service company.

The news of the firm’s change in leadership comes about a month after the Hearsay for Salesforce tool became available on the Salesforce AppExchange and Hearsay received a minority investment from Salesforce Ventures.

With 220 employees, Hearsay works with some 120 clients, and its technology is used by about 170,000 advisors and agents.

“I’ve had a great opportunity to partner with Clara as part of [my] on-boarding process and to get to know her and how we work together over the past six months. We’ve spent a lot of time speaking about how we will partner going forward,” Boese said in an interview. 

“Clara orchestrated this succession plan over an extended period of time, and now she’s also going to continue to stay very close to the company in the next phase,” he explained. 

Next Steps

For Shih, “It’s time to honor my other priorities.”

For instance, she’s involved with Girls Inc., and is a mentor. “My mentee, in June, was the first in her family to graduate from college. I will continue to help her and support the work of the Merkle Foundation for displaced workers,” the executive chairperson explained.

The Hearsay co-founder also just signed up to be the kindergarten room parent at her child’s school. “It’s the first time I’ve been so involved in a  San Francisco Bay Area school.”