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EMC co-founder tapped for Emerald Isle post

President George W. Bush has nominated EMC co-founder Richard Egan as ambassador to Ireland, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

Recent management changes at storage powerhouse EMC have been illuminated from an unusual quarter: the new administration of President George W. Bush.

Bush has nominated EMC co-founder Richard Egan as ambassador to Ireland, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

"The United States and Ireland enjoy natural bonds of friendship, and strong trade and investment relationships," Bush said in a statement about Egan's nomination Wednesday.

The move comes two months after Egan--the "E" in EMC--handed over his chairman title to Mike Ruettgers. Ruettgers passed his title of chief executive to Joe Tucci, who was previously the chief operating officer.

Egan is now EMC's chairman emeritus.

Though the management change was announced shortly after Al Gore ceded victory in the presidential election to Bush, the succession at EMC was years in planning, said spokesman Mark Frederickson.

"The chain of events started in 1998 when Dick (Egan) and Mike (Ruettgers) talked about the succession, which led to the hiring of Joe Tucci," Frederickson said. Tucci joined EMC in January 2000. "It was part of the whole plan that Mike would take over the board."

Egan served in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated from Northeastern University. He and two other founders raised seed money for the company in 1979 by selling office furniture, but the company began its real business selling memory for "minicomputers"--smaller machines that competed with more expensive mainframes.

EMC sold memory for now-defunct Prime Computer at 50 percent of the $36,000 per megabyte price that Prime was charging, Egan has said.

In the 1980s, the company changed its direction to storage. It began selling disk storage systems for IBM mainframes, a business that now has been expanded to Unix and Windows servers. In the last two years, competitors such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer and Sun Microsystems have been fighting to regain sales lost to EMC's top-end product line.