NEC may tie Packard Bell NEC closer to its corporate structure, according to NEC, whose representatives told Japanese reporters that Packard Bell NEC may become a full subsidiary in any restructuring plan.
The previous day saw Beny Alagem resign as chairman and chief executive, replaced by Groupe Bull's chief operating officer, Alain Couter. Groupe Bull owns 13 per cent of Packard Bell NEC but NEC owns 49 per cent.
Despite the suggestion that Packard Bell NEC might become a full subsidiary, an NEC statement said that both NEC and Bull are committed to Packard Bell NEC ?remaining an independent US company [since] the dynamics of the PC industry, especially the commercial marketplace, require both a strong US base and penetration into international markets".
But Japanese sources said that Alagem resigned because of "a clash of cultures? and the main differences were in the areas of strategy and direction of the company".
NEC declined to respond, but its statement praised Alagem, saying: "Beny has been the driving force behind building the world?s best known mass merchandised consumer brand PC ? Packard Bell. Our employees, our customers, our industry and millions of consumers and PC users owe Beny thanks."
Sacramento-based Packard Bell NEC is the third biggest US supplier of PCs and fifth biggest worldwide, but is under the same pressure as all other PC manufacturers. Unprofitable for at least two years, it is suffering badly from falling prices, poor product margins and quality issues. It shed over 400 US staff earlier this year.
Alagem, chairman, president and chief executive officer for two years, was a cofounder and president of Packard Bell Electronics for the eight years prior to the 1996 merger of Packard Bell and NEC?s PC operations. The co-founders hold a total stake of between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of Packard Bell NEC.
Bull's Alain Couder is now chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors, to be appointed as president and chief executive officer before October 1. He is an IT veteran, operating across the industry for almost three decades including spells with IBM and Hewlett-Packard.
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