Wang Global, the bank technology vendor that includes the old Olivetti branch automation company, has hired Karen Roche to be financial solutions group president for the United States.

Ms. Roche, 47, was executive vice president and general manager at Logica Inc. She succeeded Massimo Gallotti, who resigned in December for undisclosed reasons.

Ms. Roche is responsible for product development, sales, and support of network-based software and services. She will tailor a bank marketing and installation strategy for the Global-fsf multiproduct retail banking system.

"I was impressed by Wang's products in the marketplace and by the strategy of where it wants its financial services practice to go," Ms. Roche said.

Global-fsf is scheduled to be commercially available in March. Conforming to the framework of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows DNA-Distributed interNet Applications-Global-fsf would support teller transaction processing and tracking and multiple delivery channels such as call centers, self-service applications, and home banking.

Microsoft's DNA-fs, or distributed Internet applications for financial services, is a computer architecture that enables banking software applications to exchange information with each other and legacy mainframe systems.

For the past year Wang Global has been on Microsoft's DNA-fs Advisory Council with other vendors.

Ms. Roche said Wang Global's partnership with Microsoft, which has an 8% stake in her company, contributed to her decision to join.

Wang Global is making significant inroads among global banks with its branch automation and networked services, largely a result of its March 1998 acquisition of Olsy Group for $390 million of stock. Olsy was part of the Italian computer and electronics company Olivetti SpA.

A pioneer in the minicomputer boom of the 1980s, Wang Laboratories Inc., as it was then known, was unable to keep up competitively as PCs became more prevalent.

The Billerica, Mass., company, which is best known for its word processing technology, filed for Chapter 11 protection in 1992, emerging a year later with a strategy that focused on software support and network services, which it sees as a $125 billion global industry.

Wang Global has a 10% market share in U.S. banking for branch-based software applications, according to Tower Group, a Needham, Mass., bank technology consulting firm.

Financial services contribute 30% of Wang Global's revenues, which were $786 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

Robert Landry, a Tower Group analyst, said the banking industry will increasingly look to integrated delivery channels, a high-growth opportunity for vendors.

Wang Global, "an invigorated competitor," is in position to profit from these trends, Mr. Landry said.

"All vendors need to be concerned that there's a new guy on the block with some money and expertise," he said. "Wang will be the company to watch in 1999."

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