Packard Bell NEC Inc chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Beny Alagem, has announced that he is leaving the company to pursue other interests. Alagem, one of the co-founders the company, cited fundamental differences with major shareholders Groupe Bull and NEC, who took minority stakes in the company in 1993 and 1995, respectively. Alagem wasn’t […]
Packard Bell NEC Inc chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Beny Alagem, has announced that he is leaving the company to pursue other interests. Alagem, one of the co-founders the company, cited fundamental differences with major shareholders Groupe Bull and NEC, who took minority stakes in the company in 1993 and 1995, respectively. Alagem wasn’t any more specific about the differences and said through his public relations team that he wasn’t ready to discuss the issue. The problems have been ongoing, though, as Alagem said that seven months ago the company began looking for a senior executive who could come on board as chief operating officer with a view to eventually taking over as CEO. He said he actively participated in the process and now that the shareholders have made their decision, it’s the right time for him to move on. The company says that Alagem did leave voluntarily and also avoided any discussion of bad blood. Alagem also said that NEC and Groupe Bull had both asked him to stay on as chairman, but that he would be happier in a venture he could call his own. A spokesperson confirmed both that invitation and its refusal. The shareholders have decided that taking his place will be Alain Couder, a 28- year industry veteran and most recently chief operating officer at Groupe Bull, where he was credited with helping get the finances back on track. Packard Bell NEC needs all the financial help it can get, as it has seen its market share decline slowly but steadily over the past couple of years – a period in which it has not been operating profitably, according to Couder. Couder said he’ll do everything he can to bring the company back to profitability, although he would give no timetable for such a development. There was also no time frame mentioned for an initial public offering, something Couder says is still in the cards. He also admitted that the company is involved in ongoing restructuring, hinting that more job cuts may follow last month’s announcement of 400 layoffs (CI No 3,410). A call to Groupe Bull’s North American offices to inquire about Couder’s replacement, revealed that the employees there were unaware of his new appointment. Couder will, for now, become chairman of the executive committee of the board, until his visa situation is sorted out and he will be named CEO on or before October 1. His appointment raises questions on the direction of the company going forward, as his main strengths are in the area of commercial sales. Couder insists, however, that the company will still be committed to the consumer side as well. The ownership structure will remain in tact at the company, with Alagem and his co-founders retaining 25% of the company’s shares. Currently NEC Corp owns 49% of the entity, and Bull owns 12.6%.