Dell survives leadership challenge by Nine and Rollins

After a weekend of internal soul searching, it is official. Michael Dell is, always has been and will continue to be the CEO of Dell, at least for the foreseeable future.

Dell's leadership was suddenly called into question over the weekend when COO Kevin Rollins mysteriously ousted his boss from the company's top seat during the airing of a report by Channel Nine's Business Sunday program.

"Founder Michael Dell, a guest on Business Sunday several years ago, has stepped into the background, leaving CEO Kevin Rollins as the public face of this company. He was in Australia this week and spoke to Helen McCombie," a report on Australia's most influential, dedicated business television program spruiked to all those awake at around 7.30 on a Sunday morning.

A rather special italicised quote from Rollins at the top of the transcript upon Business Sunday's Web site – part of Australia most popular portal NineMSN - adds further intrigue to the so-far understated leadership saga within Dell:

"I think that there's going to be a change. When you come out of this economic slow down, and we will, as a world, it's going to be a very different landscape of companies and of technologies than existed when we came into this slow down ..."

The transcript then again introduces "Kevin Rollins, CEO, Dell Computers", who goes on to speak about soft business conditions, Dell's headlong thrust into the enterprise services market and cost cutting targets "in excess of one-and-a-half billion [dollars]".

Assuming Michael Dell has left his cut-price box empire in capable hands to spend more time with Mrs Dell and Junior Dells (after all, what use is wealth if there's no time to enjoy it), Computerworld checked the Dell site - only to find the big MD still ruling the roost.

A source at Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcast Limited said that they were unaware that Michael Dell had wrestled back control after Business Sunday aired news of the coup – but would certainly check it out.

Footnote: Apparently some of our international readers have misinterpreted this story. To clarify for the literal-minded, Kevin Rollins did not actually try to take over Dell. The Business Sunday staff gave that impression with their comments and descriptions.

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