Compaq pins turnaround hopes on CFO

Compaq has named a new chief financial officer, a move which the company hopes will help complete its turnaround in fortunes begun last April when the company's top officers resigned following poorer-than-expected financial results.

And analysts say the appointment will also give the company much-needed stability as it continues to battle rival vendors, most notably Dell.

Michael Capellas, Compaq president and chief executive officer, last week revealed Jesse Greene, former corporate senior vice president and director of business strategy and information technology at Eastman Kodak, had been named CFO of the company.

Last April, Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq's previous CEO, was ousted following lower-than-expected earnings results and was replaced by Capellas. The company's previous CFO, Earl Mason, resigned at the same time as Pfeiffer. Ben Wells, Compaq's treasurer and vice president of finance, has worked as acting CFO since Mason resigned and will now return to his previous position.

Alan Hodel, a Compaq spokesman, said: "We've acknowledged we have had some rough patches, but clearly Compaq has the right strategy . . . to enhancegrowth."

Meanwhile, analysts said the appointment will lend stability to Compaq as the company does battle against rival computer vendors, notably Dell.

"It's extremely important to have a strong CFO, one who knows how to set and give expectations," Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group in the US, commented.

However, Anne Bui, an analyst with IDC, said Compaq must still deal with stiff competition from Dell, which has stolen market share away from it.

Among Compaq's goals are reducing operating expenses to between 11 and 13 per cent of sales, down from previous levels of as high as 18 per cent of sales, Bui said.

Capellas has also sought to greatly expand Compaq's Internet-based computer sales, she added.

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