GianFinalWell, this is big (and surprising): Dassault Systèmes just announced that Gian Paolo Bassi has been appointed CEO of SOLIDWORKS, replacing Bertrand Sicot. M. Sicot moves on to become DS’ VP Sales of the Value Solutions sales channel, the indirect sales network serving DS customers outside of the SolidWorks universe.

Mr. Bassi has been with DS and SolidWorks since 2011, serving as SolidWorks’ VP, R&D. He’s a passionate advocate of CAD in general and SolidWorks in particular, and was, DS says, instrumental in bringing SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual and Industrial Conceptual to the market. He spoke to industry analysts late last year about Mechanical Conceptual and Industrial Conceptual (and many other things), and it was clear that he is committed to adding exciting new features to the brand, leveraging the 3DExperience platform where appropriate but sometimes addressing SolidWorks’ customers more directly.

“Behind every great brand is great talent, and Gian Paolo and Bertrand have been architects of change for SOLIDWORKS,” said Bernard Charlès, CEO of Dassault Systèmes. “SOLIDWORKS has developed into a comprehensive portfolio for intuitive, integrated 3D design, simulation, electrical design, product data management and technical communication and continues to thrive thanks to engineering ingenuity and user collaboration. We look forward to continued success for SOLIDWORKS under Gian Paolo’s leadership and to strong Value Solutions channel sales growth from Bertrand’s extensive sales experience.”

I’ve known Gian Paolo on and off for years as we both worked for Attilio Rimoldi at Computervision. Years later, I ran into him again when he was CTO at ImpactXoft, where he (according to DS) “co-invented three of his five patents in functional modeling”. I actually like M. Sicot very much; personable and charming but oh-so-salesy. Gian Paolo is smart and innovative and a total CAD nerd (I mean that in the most positive and respectful way); it’ll be interesting to see how he takes the stage at SolidWorks World next month.

Image of Mr. Bassi is courtesy of Dassault Systèmes.