Compaq EMEA Appoints New COO

Compaq Computer Corp. has appointed Rob Walker as its new vice president and chief operating officer for Compaq Computer Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), effective Sept. 1, the computer manufacturer announced Tuesday.

Furthermore, the current vice president and general manager of EMEA, Werner Koepf, will be made chairman and chief executive officer of Compaq's EMEA division, Compaq said in a statement. Under the new management structure, Walker will be based in Zurich, Switzerland and will report to Koepf.

"The key driver, as I see it, will be no surprise to anyone. I believe that the big growth of the Web is ahead of us, not behind us, and I think that's where Compaq has real potential," Walker said in a telephone interview with IDG News Service on Wednesday.

According to Walker, his focus for Compaq EMEA will be on the infrastructure side -- specifically in server and storage technology -- and in wireless services.

"Compaq will always have to partner with other players in terms of wireless. Europe's in the lead in wireless, and that puts us in a good position to take advantage of that, so wireless will be an area of focus for us," Walker said.

According to Walker, Compaq EMEA will be opening the doors on its new wireless development center in Stockholm in October.

With 40 percent of Compaq's revenue already generated in EMEA, the company is looking to expand its base and streamline its operations with a new division to handle Pan European accounts and deal directly with its 28 EMEA offices, Compaq said. The new division will open in the forth quarter.

"I believe that we'll see double digit growth in Europe for Compaq in the second half of the year," Walker said.

One problem area that Walker intends to tackle quickly is the channels department. "The channel strategy is still not as clear as it is supposed to be. I plan to spend the next three months clarifying and communicating our hybrid channel strategy to our partners," Walker said.

Walker added that he is also open to working with partners to strengthen channel development and hopes to host a partners conference some time in October.

Walker previously worked at Xerox Corp. as managing director for Xerox (U.K.) Ltd. and, before that, at Unisys Corp.

"I think I understand all aspects of the business, having worked in a variety of positions throughout the years, including dual aspects of a American multinational corporation," Walker said.

Compaq, in Houston, Texas, can be reached at +1-281-380-0670 or http://www.compaq.com/.

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