Michael Fields, Ex-CEO of KANA Software, Passes Away

KANA Software, which is backed by Accel-KKR, said Friday that Michael Fields, its former CEO, passed away on Oct. 24. Fields had struggled with cancer for 10 months, the statement said. KANA, of Sunnyvale, Calif., offers software that helps companies hold conversations with their customers via phone, email, chat, and web. Accel-KKR is a tech focused PE firm.


Michael Fields, former chief executive officer of KANA Software, passed away on Sunday October 24th 2010 after a tenacious 10 month struggle with cancer.

In his career, spanning more than 30 years, Michael Fields led successful organizations at a number of large corporations, including Oracle U.S.A, where he served as president, Applied Data Research and Burroughs Corporation. In addition, Mr. Fields was the founder, chairman of the Board of Directors and chief executive officer of OpenVision Technologies, Inc, which was acquired by VERITAS in 1997.

“It is difficult to sum up all the contributions Mike made to KANA in just a few words. We will certainly miss his energy, enthusiasm and unwavering belief in KANA’s long term success,” commented KANA’s CEO Mark Duffell. “On a personal note, I will miss his charismatic leadership and vivacious personality. Our condolences go out to his family.”

Mr. Fields took charge of KANA in September 2005. Under his leadership, he strengthened KANA operationally, financially and technologically through vision, focus, hard work and an absolute commitment to customer success. Mike was the driving force behind KANA’s vision: during the downturn of 2009, when many of KANA’s competitors decided to stand still or retrench, Mike invested heavily in innovation. His leadership led to the creation of the industry’s first Service Experience Management solutions — which have transformed customer service operations. Mike guided KANA thorough a series of strategic initiatives; most notably the acquisition of KANA by Accel-KKR, one of the most respected and successful private equity firms in the world. This decision strengthened KANA’s commitment to its customers and validated Mike’s confidence in the company’s potential to lead the industry.

“Though many of us were aware of Mike’s illness, we were shocked by the rapid acceleration of his cancer over the last few months,” said Jay Jones, KANA’s CFO, who has worked closely with Mike at Oracle, OpenVision and KANA. “He had an incredible intellect, uncompromising work ethic, and a phenomenal knowledge of the software industry. On a personal level, I will miss my friend and mentor. Mike’s life enriched everyone he encountered: he truly was larger than life, touched many lives and his spirit will live on.”

Michael is survived by his wife Sandra, his children Tara and Michelle, and grandchildren Matthew, Sierra, and Ava.

SERVICE INFORMATION: A memorial and celebration of his life will be held on November 20th from 5-9 pm at Blackhawk Automotive Museum: 3700 Blackhawk Plaza Circle, Danville, CA.