September 18, 1998 7:45 AM PDT

Packard Bell signs on CEO

Personal computer maker Packard Bell NEC announced it has tapped Alain Couder to be president and CEO.

Couder joins Packard Bell from France's Groupe Bull, Packard Bell's strategic partner, where he served as its chief operating officer in charge of operations and corporate strategy. He will assume his new position on or before October 1.

The company also accepted the resignation of Packard Bell founder, Beny Alagem, who had served as the chairman, president, and chief executive officer during the past two years.

Couder is a 28-year veteran in the international IT industry and has held senior positions at global PC companies including IBM and Hewlett Packard. Couder is said to possess extensive knowledge of Packard Bell as a result of his active role on the company's strategic committee.

"I am very confident of our ability to expand our position as a worldwide leader in all global PC markets, channels, and product categories," Couder said in a statement. "Packard Bell NEC is showing renewed vigor in the consumer market, where we continue to pioneer retail solutions and lead the sub-$1,000 category.

"In the commercial sector, we are leveraging the great technology and international experience of both NEC and Groupe Bull to increase our strength in the worldwide professional IT market," he added.

Couder said Packard Bell continues to increase its market share and profitability, which he said "now comprises about 40 percent of our revenue."

The company also announced that NEC, which owns the controlling stake in Packard Bell, and Groupe Bull reaffirmed their commitment that Packard Bell NEC will remain an independent U.S. company.

Earlier this month, NEC boosted its stake in the beleaguered PC maker to 52.81 percent from 49 percent. NEC injected $225 million in the company to capture this stake. Since 1985, NEC has put up $1.55 billion, including transferred assets, to shore up Packard Bell.

 

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