Rashid Khan, co-founder and chief executive officer of software firm Ultimus, is stepping aside as CEO of the company.

Ultimus, a provider of business process management and workforce automation solutions, replaced Khan with Richard Davis. Davis has some 25 years of experience in software and high tech.

In what the company calls a strategy to help Ultimus “really get to the next level,” Ultimus also hired a colleague of Davis as chief financial officer. As a result, Willis Lumpkin, the current chief financial officer, will “transition” from the company, said Rick Thompson, Ultimus’ chief marketing officer.

Khan is one of the best known entrepreneurs in the Triangle. Thompson said Khan, the largest shareholder in the privately held firm, will remain on the board and will act as chief technical and strategy officer.

The changes have been in the works for months, Thompson told WRAL Local Tech Wire.

“Over the last six months, Rashid and the board have discussed the best way for Ultimus really to get to the next level and capitalize on the attention being paid to the BPM marketplace and to capitalize on forecasted growth,” Thompson said.

“It’s always hard to step down as CEO,” he added. “Having said that, I know he’s also very excited to be able to focus more single mindedly on products and strategy.”

The board recognizes that Khan had “taken us from zero to where we are today and helped create a very strong BPM platform,” Thompson added. “We also recognize that right now there is a great opportunity in the market. It’s growing very, very significantly, and I think Rashid recognizes that for us to get to a $100 million company we needed someone who had done the experience of doing that previously and scaling a company to that level.”

Ultimus is profitable, but Thompson would not disclose revenues. The firm has nearly 350 employees worldwide and recently moved into a new 16,500 square foot headquarters in Cary. It also has 13 offices worldwide and a development operation in Pakistan. Khan is a native of Pakistan.

The company also has hired Anne Huemme, a technology industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience, as chief financial officer. Her appointment was part of the new CEO’s hiring package, Thompson said.

“Richard brought in Anne whom he had worked with in the past,” he said. “He has first-hand experience with what she is capable of doing.”

Asked if Davis planned any other changes in management, Thompson said, “We don’t have any indication of that at this time.”

Ultimus is a tightly held private company. The firm took its first venture funding in 2004 – $10 million from Advent International. The venture firm has two board seats.

Mike Andrade, who founded the firm along with Khan, is vice president of development.

Ultimus competes worldwide in the business process management that is valued at more than $1 billion, according to industry figures cited by Ultimus.

“Ultimus has become one of the leading BPM players in the world, with its unparalleled capability to deliver successful implementations in 16 languages across 80 countries,” Khan said in a statement.

“With this strong foundation of an innovative product and unparalleled worldwide delivery capability, now is the right time for Ultimus to bring on a seasoned technology veteran to help us capitalize on the BPM industry’s significant growth,” he added. “With his unique set of skills and expertise, Richard is ideally suited for the CEO position at Ultimus. His 25-plus years of industry experience and the leadership role he has played at major companies make him uniquely qualified to lead our company through one of the most exciting times in its history.”

Davis most recently was chairman and CEO of Ardence, a software firm that was acquired by Citrix Systems in January. He was CEO of Rand McNally & Company before joining Ardence. He also led two other companies that were acquired by larger firms.