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Dell CTO Kevin Kettler to step down

The chief technology officer is retiring to spend more time with his many local activities, including a wine bar and TV venture.

CNET News staff writer Erica Ogg co-wrote this article.

Updated 12:50 p.m. PST with Dell confirmation.

Chief Technology Officer Kevin Kettler is retiring, Dell plans to announce in coming days, CNET News has learned.

Kettler is stepping down to spend time with his numerous activities in the Austin, Texas, area, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation, and the move isn't part of Dell's reorganization activities.

Dell CTO Kevin Kettler speaking in 2006.
Dell CTO Kevin Kettler speaking in 2006. Stephen Shankland/CNET News

On Wednesday, shortly after this story was posted, Dell spokesman David Frink confirmed Kettler's departure.

"He wants to take time to focus on his family and his many other varied interests beyond Dell," Frink said. The retirement will take place "in the next few months," and Dell declined to comment on any plans for a new CTO.

Indeed, Kettler has plenty going on in Austin. He co-founded Charity Partners of Austin. He's an investor in Austin Music Partners' ME Television. And he's involved in a local wine bar, two sources said.

Dell, with founder Michael Dell back in the CEO office, has been working for many months to turn around its business. The current economic climate isn't helping: Dell announced a 10 percent layoff in May, and more recently began asking employees to take unpaid leave to avoid further cuts.

Kettler did not respond to a request for comment.

However, the CTO has told his employees of the change, and his retirement has been anticipated within the company for months, one Dell source said.

Kettler joined Dell in 1996, rose through the ranks of its workstation division, and later oversaw Dell's PC architecture work.

Though rivals criticized the company for having shallow technology experience, Kettler wasn't afraid to mix it up. Kettler gave Dell credit for helping to set the PC technology agenda, and he was point man for the company's effort to promote Blu-ray Disc over HD DVD. And he was happy to delve into the nitty-gritty of server virtualization.