Compaq's executive stampede puts US channel in more jeopardy

Compaq's executive stampede puts US channel in more jeopardy

Compaq's US channel has experienced another blow with the resignation of John Rando, senior vice president and group manager of services and self-proclaimed champion of the channel.

The absence of Rando, previously vice president of Digital's Service division and an advocate of channel relationships, has left a gaping hole in Compaq's service expertise and left the channel in a critical condition.

Rando's exit comes in the wake of the embattled vendor's distribution shake-up in which Compaq reduced the number of its North American distributors from 39 to four.

Rando is the fourth executive to flee the ailing PC vendor since shocking fourth-quarter financial results and the consequent banishment of CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer.

However, Compaq denies that Rando's resignation was anything but voluntary and argues that Compaq Services "still has a very strong team in place", according to Alan Hodel, a spokesman for the company.

A Compaq Australia spokesperson iterated this point, claiming "this doesn't mark any shift in our service strategy. Compaq will continue to build on the strong services foundation that John [Rando] established."

The spokesperson reassured the local channel that the American and Australian markets are completely different and Compaq will carry on with its present service strategy and channel programs. "Service is a whole new ball game for Compaq but it is a key area and something we definitely want to pursue. The channel is our partner in this, in some areas it can sell our services and in others it can package its own services with ours," asserts the spokesperson.

Meanwhile Compaq's share price rose $US1.50, apparently in response to the changes in its distribution ranks. The surviving distributors also experienced a surge of confidence: Tech Data's price leapt $US2.88 to $US32; Merisal rose 63 cents to $US2.80; Inacom increased 41 cent to $US12.38 and Ingram Micro gained 88 cents to $US28.

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