Clarke will likely play a pivotal role in Dell's future. In his new position, he will be responsible for managing the Optiplex desktop line, the Latitude brand of notebooks, and the Precision workstation family, according to a company representative. Combined, these three product families account for the majority of Dell's revenue. Officially, Clarke's title is vice president of the relationship products group.
The 38-year-old Clarke succeeds Carl Everett, 50, who is retiring for personal reasons, the representative said. Everett came to Dell in 1998 after running the processor sales division at Intel. Clarke previously handled product development for the Optiplex and Precision lines.
Like other PC companies, Dell is struggling with a drop in demand, especially in the United States.
Late last year, Dell kicked off a strategy to gain market share by undercutting competitors on price. While Dell is able to cut prices quicker than other manufacturers because of its "build-to-order" manufacturing system, the company's prices are dropping faster than component costs, some analysts have noted.
Clarke will report directly to the office of the chairman, an executive triumvirate made up of CEO Michael Dell and co-presidents James Vanderslice and Kevin Rollins.
There are three other hardware divisions at Dell: a server division, run by Michael Lambert; a storage division, run by Russ Holt; and the consumer products division, run by John Medica.