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CommerceQuest's chairman now CEO

The chief executive of software company CommerceQuest stepped down this week after nearly two years in the job.

Ulysses Knotts, 48, has been replaced by CommerceQuest's chairman of the board, Michael H. Forster, 61. Forster said the company "needed to focus on our Tampa roots," but Knotts has become increasingly involved in business affairs in Atlanta and is moving there.

Knotts could not be reached for comment.

Forster comes to the company from Internet Capital Group, CommerceQuest's majority investor, where he has served as a managing director since 1998. He retired that year as the senior vice president of a California software company.

The new CEO said his goal is to continue developing CommerceQuest's market in business process management software that integrates business operations to improve efficiency.

Forster said it is expected to be a multibillion-dollar industry by the end of the decade, and he thinks CommerceQuest has the potential to become one of the top players.

"We think we could be real winners in this space, which would mean a lot of jobs for Tampa if it came to fruition," he said. CommerceQuest has 145 employees.

Forster, who worked with Knotts at IBM 20 years ago, called his predecessor "an extremely good thinker" who will continue to do consulting for CommerceQuest.

_ Benita Newton can be reached at bnewtonsptimes.com or (727) 893-8318.

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