What happened

Shares of Teradata (NYSE:TDC) fell as much as 24.2% lower on Friday morning, tripped up by a disappointing earnings report and a sudden management change. By 11:50 a.m. EST, the data analytics specialist's stock had recovered somewhat to a still-drastic 17.2% drop.

So what

Teradata's third-quarter sales fell 13% year over year to $459 million. Adjusted earnings dropped 11% lower to land at $0.32 per share. Your average Wall Street analyst had been expecting earnings closer to $0.40 per share on revenues near $486 million. Furthermore, CEO Oliver Ratzesberger has been removed from a post he gained as recently as last January, replaced by former CEO Vic Lund on an interim basis. Teradata's board of directors is looking for a permanent replacement.

A young office worker leans both elbows on his deskt, pressing his palms to his temples as he stares at the laptop screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

It's true that the last few quarters have been dismal for Teradata, accelerating a negative long-term trend on the top and bottom lines that had been stabilizing and even reversing into growth when Ratzesberger took the reins. But this happened in a terrible era for technology stocks in general, since the entire market has suffered pressure from international trade disputes and flagging consumer spending all year long.

So I'm not entirely sure that Oliver Ratzesberger is to blame for Teradata's recent woes, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I'll watch this company from the sidelines until it finds a permanent CEO who has some sort of turnaround plan in mind.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.