Dell CFO stepping down in January

As SEC accounting probe continues, Jim Schneider will retire; board member Donald Carty will take the reins.

Jim Schneider, Dell's chief financial officer, will step down from his position by the end of January, while the SEC continues to investigate the company's accounting practices.

Donald Carty, the former chief executive and chief financial officer of AMR--the parent company of American Airlines--will replace Schneider, Dell announced Tuesday. Carty has been on Dell's board of directors since 1992 and chaired the audit committee, which is conducting its own investigation into Dell's accounting practices.

Jim Schneider
Jim Schneider

Carty will assume the title of vice chairman and chief financial officer, keeping his position on the board. He will officially start his executive duties on January 2, with Schneider staying on until the end of the month to help with the transition, a company representative said.

The company representative said Schneider is "retiring," but he will also be joining the board of directors at Frontier Bancshares as chairman. Frontier is a bank-holding company based in Austin, Texas, near Dell's headquarters in Round Rock.

Schneider has been with Dell since 1996, becoming CFO in 2000. He joined the company when it was still finding its way among the leaders in the PC market, but oversaw a period of strong growth fueled by direct sales and lean inventory management. In the early part of this decade, when its competitors were struggling to cope with the fallout from the dot-com bust, Dell posted strong growth in both revenue and profits quarter after quarter.

But this has not been a good financial year for Dell. The company has missed its earnings targets several times as it copes with a slowdown in demand for desktop PCs. Its accounting practices have also come under scrutiny this year, and Dell has been forced to delay the release of its earnings report to the Securities and Exchange Commission until it can get a handle on its accounting issues.

Carty won't be the only new executive at Dell next year. The company will start 2007 with several new executives in various roles. It also reorganized the product side of the company into two new divisions in a bid to focus more closely on its customers.

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