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Senior staff depart in Hallmark overhaul

Senior staff depart in Hallmark overhaul

Hallmark Computer International has shed four senior executives in a management overhaul.

A mixture of sackings and resignations has seen it part company with about 30 staff during the past nine months. While most of the departures were from its Melbourne headquarters, it has also closed branches in Sydney and Perth due to falling revenues in both cities.

Garry Ganis, who was appointed as CEO in December, left the company two months ago following a disagreement with a company director over business practices, according to company founder and chairman, Edward Ho.

Ganis, a former Powerlan executive director, had been brought on board so Ho could step back from managerial duties.

General manager of sales and marketing, Kevin Rusbridge, had his contract terminated last week after just three-and-a-half months in the position. He had been hired by Ganis.

Long-time director of operations, Michael Ly, also left the company last month, and was closely followed through the exit door by marketing director, Eva Konopci.

An ARN source claimed a host of senior services and sales staff had been forced out.

"The company's marketing division has gone, and the sales team has been decimated," the source said.

A former Hallmark employee backed this assertion, estimating staff numbers had dropped by about 30 per cent during the nine-month period and had now fallen below 100. But despite this, the sources agreed that the company maintained strong relationships with its vendor base.

Hallmark founder and chairman, Edward Ho, said the management team was in the process of regrouping and restructuring.

Although denying reports that as many as 30 staff had left the company, he confirmed Ganis and Rusbridge had been dropped.

"There was too much politics with the CEO and his staff," Ho said. "As a result, the current management had to be dismantled."

Additionally, most of the employees who had left in recent months had been there for less than a year, Ho said.

"We have seven staff members who have just celebrated their 10th year with us," he said.

Hallmark maintains operations in Darwin and Adelaide. It boasts several large-scale hardware supply contracts, including deals with the Northern Territory state government and the University of South Australia. Commenting on its national operations, Ho said Hallmark had decided to close doors in Sydney and Perth.

"The company had been prepared to invest in these offices for the group business because we wanted to become a national company," he said.

"We were happy to suffer the losses in Sydney and Perth because these divisions were part of the more profitable company group."

However, ongoing poor performance levels had forced Hallmark to reverse this decision, he said. Nevertheless, it would consider reinvesting in both cities once its internal management issues were resolved.

Ho said Hallmark was now on the lookout for new staff members to fill positions in Web development, marketing and business development.

The company had also hired a new general manager to take up the duties of the CEO and director of operations, Ho said.

Mach Binh-Vu, who started with Hallmark this week, was formerly employed as regional sales manager at Adelaide-based radio and satellite manufacturing company Codan.

Prior to this, he spent 10 years at American-based software development firm, Ben Lee Systems.


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