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eMachines retools with new CEO

The low-cost PC maker picks retail veteran Wayne Inouye as CEO to replace co-founder Stephen Dukker in an effort to combat sluggish sales.

As computer manufacturers struggle with sluggish sales, low-cost PC maker eMachines on Monday said it has picked retail veteran Wayne Inouye to replace co-founder Stephen Dukker as chief executive.

Inouye, 48, will join the board of directors and officially replace Dukker on March 5, the company said in a statement. eMachines did not say why Dukker was leaving the position or where he was going after he departs.

Inouye has previous senior-executive experience with a number of retail companies. Most recently, he worked as senior vice president of the computer merchandising unit of Best Buy, a position he held since 1995. Before that, Inouye was the vice president of merchandising at The Good Guys, where he served for nine years.

Inouye has his work cut out for him.

Like many low-cost computer makers, eMachines is struggling as retail sales continue to plummet. According to a recent survey by PC Data, retail sales of desktop computers fell 26 percent in units in January and 28 percent in dollars compared with the same period last year. However, eMachines took one of the biggest hits in January, with sales down 50 percent, year over year.

eMachines was a pioneer in the market for low-cost computers, one of the segments that has been affected the most by an economic slowdown that began last summer. Its first product came out in late 1998.

"I am excited to take on this challenge, and look forward to working with the senior management team to capitalize on the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for eMachines," Inouye said in a statement.