Ipex national direct sales team manager, Richard Kerr, has quit following differences of opinion with senior management. His resignation on May 9 was effective immediately. He had been with the system builder for 18 months.
Kerr blamed being unable to secure appropriate resources to fulfill its Victorian whole of government PC and notebook contract. Ipex was one of several suppliers chosen for the panel in April. While extra resources had been promised, Kerr claimed these had been put on hold indefinitely following Commander's takeover of Ipex parent company, Volante.
"I didn't have the confidence in making commitments on what we could deliver," he said. "I wasn't able to do what was in the best interests of the customers and was unsure we would have those resources in the long run.
"My integrity and credibility lies with the customers I deal with. The Victorian government had shown us support and did us a favour given that they knew we were in the middle of a takeover. I was not prepared to maintain the facade for 2-3 months."
Ipex director of products, Shayne Taylor, denied investments into the company and its customer contracts had been put on hold.
"That's absolute rubbish," he said. "If that's the case, then it's all news to me. It's business as usual at the moment. Commander may make changes in the future but as yet it has made no comment."
A spokesperson for the Victorian government said it was up to Ipex to ensure it remained competitive.
Taylor said it was now looking to replace Kerr. He refused to discuss his own future at Ipex.
Prior to joining Volante, Kerr held positions at Compaq and HP. He also worked for Ipex from 1995-2000.
Kerr claimed Ipex was selling significantly less product and generating smaller profits than it had been prior to acquisition by Volante in February 2004. He said staff numbers had also been slashed from 800 to about 150 during that time. Despite its decline, he said Ipex could flourish under Commander if it chose to retain ownership.
"Ipex had potential but whoever was in charge of turning it around and making it meaningful has failed," he said.
"From middle management down there was no lack of best intentions. But Volante didn't have enough knowledge of manufacturing systems. There was a failure to retain and encourage the staff that had made it a success."
Kerr refuted suggestions that Ipex would conflict with Commander's partnerships with international PC vendors including HP, Toshiba and Acer.
"There are benefits to having your own products," he said. "You always have more control over the platform and the changes in technology. Many customers are more interested in stability and standard operating environments than the latest technology.
"If you have access to everyone's products, you can offer best of breed."
The comments come as Commander conducts a three-month review into the Volante business. Industry speculation is already focusing on potential buyers should Ipex be up for sale.
Optima chairman and managing director, Cornel Ung, said it could consider acquiring Ipex because it had a similar business model and shared customers. He stressed there had been no communication between the two companies.