Compaq's Pfeiffer stuns with resignation

"Stunned", is the best word to describe how the IT community reacted to the announcement that Eckhard Pfeiffer had resigned as CEO of Compaq.

The announcement came from Compaq's chairman (and one of its founders) Ben Rosen.

Also gone with Pfeiffer is Compaq's chief financial officer, Earl Mason.

"That says a lot - doesn't it?" said Barry Sanders, manager group IS for Queensland Cement, when told the news that the CFO had resigned with the CEO.

Last week, Compaq signalled that the financial results for its latest quarter ended March 31 would fall short of expectations.

"It makes you wonder what's going on," Sanders said. "We've been a DEC user for nearly 20 years. We used to buy everything [from the company]. But we now buy our desktops from Dell," Sanders said.

At Freight Corp, Peter Enderby, IT manager for the NSW-based transportation company, said, "I'm amazed. This is a real shock to us. There's nothing more I can say."

While most IT managers were shocked there were some with a more balanced opinion. "I'm neither shocked nor surprised," said Peter Schelvis, IS manager for winemaker, Orlando Wyndham in South Australia. "I don't know what the impact will be but I think it will be business as usual."

Ian Penman, managing director of Compaq Australia, said he was as surprised as everybody else. "It's not something Ben Rosen [Compaq's chairman] called me to discuss," Penman said.

"I don't think this has to do with the bad results for the quarter," he said. "There was a significant downturn in the [Compaq] stock [price] last week. It went from 30 down to 23 overnight.

"It was the late announcement that the results would be bad. Wall Street doesn't like surprises like that. It attacked the credibility of the company. You can't have that," Penman said.

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