Compaq enterprise chief John Rose, who announced his resignation this week, quit because it was becoming clear he was not going to be the company's next chief executive, according to analysts.
Andy Butler, analyst with researcher Gartner Group commented: "I don't think Rose was pushed out. I believe it was becoming increasingly apparent to him that he was not going to be the CEO. He probably felt he was the most appropriate person."
He continued: "The alternative for him was to see someone else appointed who may be younger and could be in office for the next 10 years. Rose would have to remain as number two."
Butler said that recent departures from Compaq (Rose was the fourth executive to jump ship since chief executive Pfeiffer was ousted last month), could damage the company in the long term.
"There has clearly been more of an upheaval at Compaq than we first expected. There have been far more departures from the company than there usually is after a CEO leaves."
"It isn't a reason for short term alarm, Compaq is functioning at street level just as well as it was three months ago, but it is clear that it needs a new leader. The sooner it can do this and form a clear strategy, the sooner it can avoid causing any major damage."
Butler went on to say that Compaq could not continue for much longer without a chief executive.
He was unable to make any predictions as to who might take over at the helm, but said he believed it would be an outside candidate.
"There's no question of any choice within the company, all the potential candidates have gone. Compaq has a problem as HP is looking for a CEO at the same time and there are a limited number of people the two can go for."
"It's the hottest seat in the IT industry and whoever takes it will have to think long and hard about the decision."
Butler warned that with the recent fallout of senior executives, the Compaq board is looking increasingly leaner and still favours Compaq, rather than Digital executives.
"If I was a Digital customer, I would like to see a re-affirmation of the company's commitment to Alpha and Tru 64 bit Unix and it will be a while before they can do this."
Butler said that the company's future turnaround could all hinge on the launch of a new high end Alpha product, code named Wildfire, in the last quarter of this year.
"More and more this product needs to be a success, a killer product. Compaq needs to get all this flux and uncertainty out of the way long before its launch. If Wildfire fails or the marketing and promotion campaign is flawed it may never recover."
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