Digital's boss tosses in the towel

Digital's boss tosses in the towel

Compaq's local managing director Ian Penman is now hot favourite among industry observers to get the top Australian job after Digital's chairman, president and CEO Robert Palmer, announced he will leave the company after the completion of Digital's merger with Compaq.

But while Palmer's departure leaves a big question mark over the future of other senior Digital managers, Australian officials maintain Penman and his Digital counterpart Ron Bunker are both being considered to take charge of the merged company.

Sources said Palmer was offered a vice presidential position in the new company soon after the merger was initially announced, but decided instead to step aside.

Australian officials claim the restructure is not necessarily symbolic of how senior management will operate worldwide following the merger.

Reneé Sarrouf, Digital Australia's public relations manager, denied that Compaq's managing directors will have preference over Digital's in the integration.

"I don't think we can speculate that way. Each will be evaluated based on their skill sets and a decision made accordingly."

Sarrouf said an independent human resources company is being engaged to help in the process.

She told ARN that an announcement on whether Penman or his Digital counterpart Ron Bunker will get the job locally is expected to be made within two weeks of the merger being ratified.

Palmer announced his resignation in a letter to Digital employees last Thursday -- the day before the company's shareholders voted on the merger. Eckhard Pfieffer, Compaq's president and CEO, revealed the senior management structure for the merged entity the same day.

* James Niccolai contributed to this article

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