Research on project champions has focused on the characteristics of this individual and how to provide encouragement and support. An understanding of the role of project champion is shortsighted, however, without a realization of what can happen to an expert system (ES) project and what can be done, should this individual depart. This paper discusses the ES project champion by examining the experiences of Ciba-Geigy Corporation with an ES project impeded by the departure of the project champion. The OpBright expert system, developed to support the identification of appropriate optical brightener products by sales representatives, was intended to provide a competitive advantage through superior customer service. With the promotion and transfer of the vital force committed to the project’s success, the ES encountered a stalemate. The difficulties in maintaining momentum for the ES without a project champion are discussed. Finally, suggestions are presented to guide organizations away from the same fate.