Publicly traded, Budapest-based Graphisoft, creator of the 3-D architectural design product ArchiCAD, has shaken up its upper echelon management in a course change aimed at going after the international architectural, engineering and construction market more aggressively.

After a two year run, Ray Small was replaced as CEO by Dominic Gallello on Sept. 16. Gallello says "There will be dynamic changes. We want to exploit 3D in the AEC market. Many architects are still not using 3D, and more construction firms want to adopt or expand their design-and-build capabilities to cut down costs and give them pricing advantages. The design-and-build trend is very important. Job One is to raise the profile of the company in the worldwide market."


Small readily admits that Graphisoft needed new leadership to take it where it wants to go. "We discussed how best to pursue our strategies," he says. "We determined that we can pursue long-term continuous progressive growth, or aggressive growth. If we are to remain a public company, we have to accelerate growth and we need leadership with extensive marketing experience to do this," he says. "I have extensive IT experience, but we needed a lot more industry experience than I have. The time had come to get executive leadership into the company. The parting is amicable."

Gallello notes that although the company has 10 offices worldwide and 51 independent distributors in 45 countries, "In many parts of the world, Graphisoft's core product ArchiCAD is still a relatively unknown product from an unknown company. People don't just buy technology; they buy from companies they know and believe in."


Much of the responsibility for establishing this trust will on the shoulders of Mark Sawyer, Graphisoft's new vice president of worldwide operations. Sawyer was previously vice president and general manager of the AEC Division of San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk, whose Revit 3-D design software makes it a direct Graphisoft rival.

Gallello comes to Graphisoft from Macromedia, where he was executive vice president responsible for product development. Prior to that, he also worked for Autodesk where he was vice president of the Mechanical Products Group and vice president, Asia/Pacific. He and Sawyer worked together at Autodesk.

Gábor Bojár, Graphisoft's co-founder and board chairman, credits Small with restructuring the company's management and streamlining operations and returning it to profitability and growth during his tenure as CEO. Sources say Bojár was reluctant to let Small go, but bowed to the board's wishes.