UPDATE: Penman retires from Compaq

Compaq Australia and New Zealand has announced its founding managing director and industry veteran of 33 years Ian Penman will retire in October to pursue other interests. ARN caught up with Penman yesterday.

Penman leaves behind a legacy at Compaq, and claims topping $1 billion in sales over 14 years, and the relationships he's built up with customers, colleagues and business partners as being the highlights of his career.

"There's no point in being in this industry if you're not having fun," Penman told ARN. "Some of these people have been buying off me for 14 years, they've become friends of mine."

"My only regret is I haven't been able to convince people the opportunity is now with Compaq, not in the past," he continued.

Looking to dispel any uncertainty, Penman claims it will be business as usual at Compaq and has no doubts his retirement will have little bearing on the company's future prospects.

"Market share is going to improve, profits will improve," Penman said. "If I do my job properly [in finding a replacement] then my departing will not have the slightest bit of difference to the progress of Compaq. Not one iota."

Penman claims he never really expected Compaq would become as large as it has, "I never had any idea, no one did".

While some industry pundits believe Penman might be looking forward to not having to deal with the channel, Penman argued otherwise.

"I always worked with the channel," Penman said. "I'm going to miss those testing meetings with our partners, I really will."

One thing Penman won't miss is Compaq's high revenue expectations he was subjected to during his reign as the company's headman.

"I'm not going to miss the quarterly pressure that comes around every three months, with Compaq. I only missed my quota once in 15 years - and that was in 1992. It seemed like once you've achieved your numbers, you were facing another Everest in three months, and the summit was another 10,000 feet higher."

Penman took the opportunity to take a final passing shot at the hybrid versus wholly-channel sales model.

"Our approach is to make it the customers choice, not ours. It's their preference really. The market will tell. Time will tell," claims Penman. "You can't let one part of your distribution [the channel] govern how you do business."

Compaq is currently looking at a short list of external candidates and two internal candidates for Penman's replacement and a decision is expected to be announced by the time he leaves in October.

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