Gayle Sheppard, the executive chairman of the board at big data analytics firm Saffron Technology, is taking over as CEO of the privately held company.

The change is effective immediately, the company announced early Tuesday.

Sheppard, a veteran executive at PeopleSoft, takes over as chief executive officer from Manny Aparicio, a co-founder of the firm.

Aparicio remains with the company with the title of Chief Memory Maker.

Last year, Saffron’s data mining enabled it to secure a patent for technology it claims can help predict future events. The patent covers  a means of turning so-called “big data” – massive amounts of information gathered from a wide variety of not necessarily related sources – to forecast what might happen.

The patent is titled: “Event-Based Anticipation Systems, Methods and Computer Program Products for Associative Memories Wherein Times of Future Events Occurring Are Predicted.”

“Given Gayle’s 25 years of software industry experience and entrepreneurial leadership within successful brands in the sector combined with Saffron’s growing position in big data analytics, it is the perfect time for her to focus on our market execution, to position the company to deliver shareholder value and lead Saffron through its next phase of growth.” Aparicio said in a statement.

Sheppard has served as the board’s executive chair for the past four years.

At PeopleSoft, she filled a role as vice president and managing director. Previously, Sheppard also was CEO of MarketMille and has worked for J.D. Edwards, including president of J.D. Edwards Japan.

“Saffron is dedicated to building software that allows customers to make sense of massive amounts of disparate data in order to anticipate what will happen next and to make the best decisions possible,” Sheppard said in the announcement. “Our Customer conversations extend well beyond applying these new forms of sense making and predictive analytics inside their businesses.

“They are exploring how new intelligence assets built upon Saffron’s associative memory analytics can create breakthrough value delivery, greater return on mission and new revenue streams. They believe the winners here will be data-driven, customer centric organizations capable of delivering extreme accuracy in every touch point with their consumers and constituents.”

Saffron launched in 1999.