Phoenix International Inc., a provider of client/server core banking systems, has made two hires and two promotions in its bid to boost its sagging stock price and earnings.

The hires at the seven-year-old Orlando company were William Zayas and Gregory Blalack. Mr. Zayas, who has been in sales 20 years, most recently at Perot Systems, was named senior vice president of U.S. sales. He succeeds John Erickson, who has resigned.

Mr. Blalack was named senior vice president and will be responsible for international business development. He succeeds Brian Morgan, who also resigned.

Phoenix International, which has sold its systems to 145 customers, has had five straight disappointing quarters. Revenue in 1999 was $19.7 million, down 24%, and it lost $15.7 million, against a profit of $2.4 million in 1998. Phoenix's stock, which started 1999 at $15 a share, fell to a record low $1.50 May 25. It was trading at $2.25 a share at 2:30 on Friday.

Raju Shivdasani, president and chief operating officer, said his company is still feeling the effects of the year-2000 date change. "We are a young company, a small company," he said. "We did not see Y2K coming the way it did."

One thing in the company's favor is that client/server systems are seen by some as an eventual replacement to the legacy mainframe systems that have powered bank computers for the last 30 years. Some observers, however, say mainframe systems will endure.

Carl Faulkner, managing director of M One Inc., a technology consultant, said: "I do not think they will ever go away as long as IBM continues to make a mainframe, and as long as the cost to develop one of these new systems is large. I don't know if they will stay 15 years or 20 years or 50 years, but they will be around for a while."

Phoenix and Open Solutions Inc. of Glastonbury, Conn., are the two primary providers of client/server banking systems. Fiserv Inc. and M&I Data Services, major providers of traditional banking processing systems, deal mostly in mainframe systems but have client/server divisions.

Phoenix, which in 1999 sold its system to 12 U.S. banks and nine based outside the United States, is trying to give its international businesses a higher profile. It promoted Richard Powers to executive vice president of U.S. businesses, a new position. He joined the company last year as a senior vice president of electronic commerce after spending 25 years in banking, including stints as chief operating officer at Waterhouse National Bank and North Fork Bank.

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