Golden boy of the IT retail world Rutland Smith has industry chins wagging with last week's shock announcement that he is abandoning a promising career with IBM to join Harvey Norman.
Smith will begin a trial training period next week to take on the job as trainee proprietor at the retail giant's Auburn store in Sydney.
He leaves his position as national retail manager for IBM's Personal Systems group where he is credited with dramatically increasing Big Blue's retail business.
Before this he held a similar position with Apple Computer Australia.
Tony Gattari, general manager of the computers and communication division at Harvey Norman, said that provided Smith proves capable of taking on the responsibility of running a franchise, he will join a string of other proprietors, also ex-employees of dominant computer companies.
However, Smith's impressive IT background doesn't represent a guarantee that he will be accepted for the position, Gattari said.
"Running an independent franchise will really test his abilities," he said.