Culture

Key Gateway executive resigns

Sue Parks, senior vice president of the U.S. Markets Group, leaves amid continued restructuring at the struggling PC maker.

Just months after unveiling a major restructuring, Gateway is losing the senior executive who was tapped to head its PC sales and marketing effort.

Sue Parks, senior vice president of the U.S. Markets Group, plans to leave at the end of the year, said Brad Williams, a company spokesman. Parks, who was head of the Gateway unit that sold to businesses, schools and government agencies, was tapped in July for her new position. As senior vice president, she is responsible for Gateway?s combined consumer and business divisions, as well as service, sales and marketing. She reports to Chief Executive Ted Waitt.

Waitt had wanted to redistribute some of Parks' duties so executives and managers would have increased accountability and more control over various parts of the business, Williams said. But Parks decided to resign rather than take on less responsibility, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Her position will not be filled, and her duties will be handled by several executives. Bart Brown, senior vice president of the Solutions Group, will handle marketing. David Turner, vice president of marketing, will be responsible for sales. Nemo Azamian, vice president of customer care, will continue head up technical support but now reports to Waitt.

Parks, a former senior vice president at phone company Qwest Communications International, joined the company a little more than a year ago, during the tenure of CEO Jeff Weitzen, who was ousted in January as company founder Waitt returned. Several of Weitzen's top executives also left the company, although Parks remained, first in her role as head of Gateway Business, then in the new position.

"I'm really trying to get us focused," Parks said in an August interview. "Nobody's done a great job serving small and medium-sized businesses.

Since Waitt's return, Gateway has left its overseas markets, slashed jobs, and closed facilities as it looks to stem losses and boost declining market share. The company forecast that it will return to profitability, excluding charges, in the current quarter.

Gateway has been looking to reinvent itself as the "IT department for the masses," using its Country Stores as a vehicle to offer services and support, an effort Parks was helping to lead. At the same time, Gateway has been trying to transform the company internally to become more focused on profits.

Although Parks was given a broader role with the creation of the U.S. Markets unit, Williams said there was overlap between that organization and a separate corporate executive team. That overlap became more dramatic after Gateway's decision to exit its overseas markets, he said.