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Compaq picks new CIO as chief decision looms

The computer maker fills the first significant, in a long list of vacant, management positions. A decision on a new CEO could come soon.

Compaq today filled the first significant, in a long list of vacant, management positions. The company picked a new chief information officer, while the board closed in on a new chief executive.

Robert V. Napier will ascend to the position of CIO and senior vice president of Information Management. Napier, who will leave the Mariner Post-Acute Network as senior vice president and CIO, starts at Compaq on August 2.

Napier replaces acting CIO Fred Jones, who will return to his position as vice president of Information Services, under Napier.

Napier's appointment fuels speculation that former Compaq CIO Michael Capellas, now acting COO (chief operating officer), will stay permanently in that position. Capellas has essentially run day-to-day operations since his appointment following the ouster of chief executive Eckhard Pfeiffer in April.

The CEO's office is another of several open positions filled temporarily at Compaq. The Office of the Chief Executive, made up by board members Ben Rosen, Frank Doyle, and Ted Enole, coordinates the search for a new chief executive and the reorganization of Compaq.

A memo to Compaq employees from the Office of the Chief executive said this about the new CIO: "Bob brings to Compaq over 25 years experience as a senior IT executive in global organizations. Reporting directly to the Office of the Chief Executive, he will continue Compaq's leadership in the innovative use of information technology and will support our aggressive customer-focused e-commerce and supply chain initiatives."

Other key interim managers: Ben Wells is acting chief financial officer, and Enrico Pasatori, senior vice president and group general manager of the Enterprise Solutions and Services Group, is also acting senior vice president of Corporate Marketing.

Several positions also remain vacant: heads of the Human Resources Organization and Environment, E-commerce, and Customer Advocacy.

Compaq's management crisis followed the ouster of Pfeiffer and immediate resignation of chief financial officer Earl Mason. Departed upper management includes Michael Heil, worldwide marketing head, Enterprise Computing chief John Rose, John Rando, senior vice president and group general manger of Services, and Hans Gutsch, over human resources.

Adaptec announced earlier this week that Robert Schultz, former vice president of Compaq's server storage business, would become chief operating officer.

Compaq may be nearer to filling its all-important vacant CEO's position. Sources close to the company indicated Compaq could announce a new chief executive within three weeks.

The Compaq board two weeks ago appeared ready to approach Gregory Brenneman, president of Continental Airlines, but he abruptly removed himself as a candidate.