3Com CEO to step down

Six months after a company reorganisation aimed at reversing a recent string of financial losses, 3Com yesterday announced its CEO Eric Benhamou is leaving his post effective January 1.

Benhamou, who has led the networking company for 10 years, will remain as 3Com's chairman.

Succeeding him as chief executive will be Bruce Claflin, who was handpicked by Benhamou in 1998 as the company's chief operating officer and president. Claflin will begin his new duties on January 1. His nomination has been approved by the company's board of directors, according to a company statement.

At 3Com's annual shareholders meeting, Benhamou said it was time for him to move on. "I believe it is in the best interest of a company and its leader, to self-rejuvenate," he said. "It's been my privilege to serve as 3Com's CEO for 10 years - a long time in this industry."

"This transition is taking place at the right time for the right reasons and to the right person," Benhamou added. "3Com has completed a radical strategic transformation and entered a new phase of growth."

Claflin has been responsible for 3Com's worldwide operations, including product and service businesses and sales and marketing.

He previously worked for Digital Equipment and IBM.

In March, 3Com said it was bowing out of its core large-enterprise LAN and WAN businesses and dropping its CoreBuilder LAN switch line. The company also sold its analog modem business to focus on LAN products for small and midsize companies and on wireless networking, LAN telephony and broadband Internet access systems.

On Tuesday, the company announced sales of $US933.8 million for the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 2, which included $127.5 million from the sale of its high-end LAN/WAN and analog modem businesses.

Pro forma net losses were $41.3 million, or 12 cents per share, which was lower than the expected loss of $67.5 million to $90 million.