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Mercury Interactive Corp. produces software to help analyze and streamline business technology. Now in the midst of a management overhaul, the Mountain View company is hoping that its new general counsel, Sandra Escher, can help streamline its own operations. In the last year, Mercury’s chief executive, financial and operating officers, along with its previous general counsel, resigned amid internal investigations into manipulation of employee stock data. After a 2004 inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mercury and independent counsel O’Melveny & Myers discovered that executives had altered dates on over 40 stock option exercise dates in order to increase stock value. Escher is part of a new executive team that is working to distance Mercury from the 2005 financial scandals that led to late and misfiled reports and delisting from Nasdaq. She brings experience in corporate and securities law as well as familiarity with the California tech world. Along with serving for eight years as GC at Silicon Graphics Inc., Escher also headed SGI’s corporate legal services and corporate development departments. In January, Mercury acquired software compatibility specialist Systinet Corporation, and Escher was recently involved with handling the legal management of that acquisition. Her compliance work will also be crucial to rebuilding investor confidence and getting the company relisted on Nasdaq. Mercury is required to submit corrected versions of previous filings by the second quarter of 2006. At Mercury, business monitoring and restructuring will start at home. Denali K. Dasgupta is an assistant editor at Corporate Counsel magazine, which is affiliated with GC California.

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