Shakeup: Dell CEO Steps Down

Dell CEO Kevin Rollins stepped down suddenly on Wednesday, casting a new urgency to customer service and market share problems that have racked the company in recent months. Dell founder Michael Dell, also serving as company chairman, will step into the CEO roll as well.

Analysts have been calling for Rollins' ouster and many expected him to be deposed in recent months. Only the timing was a surprise, coming as it does just after the Windows Vista launch. Rollins had been CEO of Dell since 2004.

"There is no better person in the world to run Dell at this time than the man who created the direct model and who has built this company over the last 23 years," said Samuel Nunn, the head of the board of directors at Dell. "The board believes that Michael's vision and leadership are critical to building Dell's leadership in the technology industry for the long term."

Dell famously founded his PC company from his college dorm room in 1984, and over the years he turned his childhood hobby into the world's largest PC maker. Dell, however, has floundered in the past year, and it finally fell behind HP in the PC market in mid-2006 after a damaging price war. Dell has also been beset by widespread complaints about its customer service, and the company has undergone months of internal training in an effort to overcome this issue.

For his part, Rollins participated in the Windows Vista launch event Monday in New York. Rollins didn't appear particularly excited from his perch next to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Monday, an indication, perhaps, that he knew what was coming. Too, Rollins isn't the first high-level exec to leave Dell in recent days, though he is certainly the most prominent. Dell CFO James Schneider abruptly retired in December.

Michael Dell says his company is now entering the "Dell 2.0" era, an allusion to the now-hip "Web 2.0" term indicating that he believes it is essentially starting over with a clean slate. "I am enthusiastic about Dell 2.0, which includes our plan to provide the best customer experience, build a strong global services business and ensure our products deliver the best long-term customer value," Mr. Dell says.

Dell CEO Kevin Rollins stepped down suddenly on Wednesday, casting a new urgency to customer service and market share problems that have racked the company in recent months. Dell founder Michael Dell, also serving as company chairman, will step into the CEO roll as well.

Analysts have been calling for Rollins' ouster and many expected him to be deposed in recent months. Only the timing was a surprise, coming as it does just after the Windows Vista launch. Rollins had been CEO of Dell since 2004.

"There is no better person in the world to run Dell at this time than the man who created the direct model and who has built this company over the last 23 years," said Samuel Nunn, the head of the board of directors at Dell. "The board believes that Michael's vision and leadership are critical to building Dell's leadership in the technology industry for the long term."

Dell famously founded his PC company from his college dorm room in 1984, and over the years he turned his childhood hobby into the world's largest PC maker. Dell, however, has floundered in the past year, and it finally fell behind HP in the PC market in mid-2006 after a damaging price war. Dell has also been beset by widespread complaints about its customer service, and the company has undergone months of internal training in an effort to overcome this issue.

For his part, Rollins participated in the Windows Vista launch event Monday in New York. Rollins didn't appear particularly excited from his perch next to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Monday, an indication, perhaps, that he knew what was coming. Too, Rollins isn't the first high-level exec to leave Dell in recent days, though he is certainly the most prominent. Dell CFO James Schneider abruptly retired in December.

Michael Dell says his company is now entering the "Dell 2.0" era, an allusion to the now-hip "Web 2.0" term indicating that he believes it is essentially starting over with a clean slate. "I am enthusiastic about Dell 2.0, which includes our plan to provide the best customer experience, build a strong global services business and ensure our products deliver the best long-term customer value," Mr. Dell says.

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