Compaq Computer announced the resignation yesterday of Eckhard Pfeiffer, chief executive, and Earl Mason, chief financial officer, effective immediately.
The resignations followed a surprise profit warning from the world's largest personal computer company 10 days ago.
Compaq said it had formed a new "office of the chief executive" comprising Ben Rosen, chairman, as well as Frank Doyle, vice-chairman, and Robert Ted Enloe III, another non-executive member of the company's board of directors. The three will oversee day-to-day running of the business on an interim basis.
Mr Rosen, who provided the initial venture capital funding to form Compaq, will serve as acting chief executive. All three will take up their new roles at Compaq's headquarters in Houston, Texas, pending the selection of a new chief executive to replace Mr Pfeiffer.
Earlier this month Compaq warned that it expected earnings for the first quarter, just ended, to be only 15 cents a share. Wall Street analysts had been predicting earnings of 31 cents a share.
The company blamed the shortfall on intense price competition and lower than expected demand from US corporate PC buyers.
However, other companies in the PC industry, including Hewlett-Packard , Dell Computer and Microsoft, have said that the PC market remains robust.
This has led several analysts to reject Compaq's explanations and to blame the earnings shortfall on management.
"Compaq Computer's market strength and the fundamental correctness of its strategic direction are as clear to me today as at any time," Mr Rosen said yesterday. "Compaq has the best team anywhere in the industry. We have re-energized this company before, and working together, we will do it again."
Copyright Financial Times Limited 1999. All Rights Reserved.
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