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Compaq sees executive shakeup

Compaq announces the resignation of its general manager of worldwide sales and marketing and of its vice president of North America operations.

Compaq (CPQ) today announced the resignation of both its general manager of worldwide sales and marketing and its vice president of North America operations.

Roel Pieper, senior vice president and general manager of Compaq's worldwide sales, marketing, service, and support group, is resigning after having served in that role for only four months. Pieper was the former chief executive of Tandem Computers, which Compaq acquired in August of last year in a stock transaction valued at $4 billion.

Jim Schraith, Compaq's vice president and general manager of North America since October of 1996, also will resign at the end of the month. He is leaving to join another company.

Further details of the executives' departures were not released.

Michael Heil, senior vice president of Compaq's consumer products division, will replace Pieper. Heil, who joined the company in 1995, also will temporarily take over Schraith's duties until his permanent replacement is found.

Analysts said Pieper's departure was not unexpected given that he had to give up the CEO role he played at Tandem in order to become a division head at Compaq.

"It's not particularly surprising," said Daniel Kunstler, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities. "Tandem was bought, and it's not an unusual event for the executive of the acquired entity to?then go on to the next thing."

Kunstler, along with Philip Rueppel of Bankers Trust, said he did not view the departures as a sign that Compaq's quarterly earnings will fall short of Wall Street's expectations.

"My understanding is that [Compaq] has also been fairly pleased with the results that the Tandem group has produced," Rueppel said.

The computer maker has seen its stock price dip from around 75 a share in October to close at 56-15/16 today, down 2-3/8 from yesterday.

Computer makers in general have been struggling with pricing pressure, as well as with some ill effects related to the continuing economic turmoil in Asia.