New Fujitsu Siemens Computers Chief Eyes Future

MUNICH (04/24/2000) - Fujitsu Siemens Computers BV earlier this month named Paul Stodden as the new president and chief executive officer of the European PC vendor. The new company chief replaces former FSC co-CEOs Winfried Hoffmann and Robert Hoog, who resigned from their positions at March-end.

The two men were said to have stepped down following losses of more than 140 million marks (US$ 67 million) that resulted after the joint venture was launched in October 1999. The abrupt departure of Hoog and Hoffmann left Tetsuo Urano, executive vice chairman of FSC, in charge until Stodden was appointed interim chief.

Stodden comes from Siemens IT Service GmbH, which he led since 1996. At the same time he sat on the executive board of Siemens Business Services (SBS) and was chief spokesman of the consulting division of the U.S. firm Entex Information Services, which was recently acquired by Siemens for about $105 million.

As a result of the takeover of the U.S. company, the Munich-based concern plans to restructure its service business, which will once again fall under the jurisdiction of SBS and its leader, Friedrich Froeschl. Stodden told Computerwoche that this was not the reason he accepted his new post. "I would have enjoyed very much working with Friedrich Froeschl," Stodden said.

The new FSC chief takes over a company that has had more to deal with than just operating in the red. Following the integration of Japan's Fujitsu Ltd. and the Munich-based Siemens AG, different corporate philosophies will have to co-exist under one roof.

In addition, Stodden will have to deal with the concerns of former SNI workers in Augsburg's PC facility over the future of their jobs. The workers' concerns were intensified toward the end of 1998 when a deal to sell the facility to the Acer Group fell apart because SNI and Acer could not agree on a sale price.

In any case, the Augsburg PC workers will lose their production contracts for notebooks, which will be made at the Fujitsu factory in Shimane, Japan. Unix servers will be produced in the Far East, according to Fujitsu Senior Vice President Kazuto Kojima, who is responsible for international business. This also puts factories operating in Paderborn, Germany, into jeopardy.

As Kojima explained at a recent presentation in Tokyo, only the Intel-based servers will continue to be made in Germany. The "BS-2000" series mainframes are already being produced in Japan. For desktop PCs there is a Fujitsu factory facility in Soemmerada in addition to the one in Augsburg. The former facility has a better setup to handle economic mass production than the latter, according to internal sources. Stodden did not comment on this subject.

Regarding his immediate job location -- since the FSC company headquarters will remain in Holland, and additional offices are in Munich, Paderborn, Bad Homburg and in Bracknell, England -- Stodden said: "I'm assuming that I will do a lot of traveling in the near future."

Another problem Stodden must address are the variations in the current company supply chain: Fujitsu Europe brings ERP software from Baan through the merger, Siemens uses SAP, and Fujitsu Japan uses a third variation. An integration of these systems is nowhere in sight and Fujitsu managers estimate this could take up to three years.

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