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Gateway fills out postmerger executive ranks

The PC maker, which closed its merger with eMachines on March 11, appoints 13 senior vice presidents--seven from eMachines and six from Gateway--who will report to CEO Wayne Inouye.

Meet the new faces of Gateway.

The PC maker made public on Friday its postmerger senior executive staff. Gateway, which closed its merger with eMachines on March 11, has appointed 13 senior vice presidents--seven from eMachines and six from Gateway--who will report to CEO Wayne Inouye. Inouye, who had been eMachine's chief executive, became Gateway's CEO, along with the closing of the merger. Ted Waitt, Gateway's founder and previous CEO, became the company's chair.

The change in executives, which brings many of eMachines' most senior managers into the top echelons of Gateway management, is very likely to reflect the company's goal of expanding into new channels in retail. It also streamlines the chain of command at the California-based PC maker.

"What we have is a simpler, flatter structure," because all the new senior VPs report directly to Inouye, said Bob Sherbin, a Gateway spokesman. "The intention of it is to keep Wayne and the senior executives as close as possible to our customers and the marketplace."

Several familiar faces hold positions in the new ranks. Rod Sherwood, who now carries the title of senior vice president, will also continue as Gateway's CFO. Scott Weinbrandt became senior vice president of Gateway's professional business segment, where he will run sales to public-sector and corporate clients. He had been general manager of Gateway's enterprise systems division.

Several eMachines executives gained key roles in the company's new executive structure as well.

Bob Davidson, formerly eMachines' executive vice president of global product planning, was appointed Gateway's senior vice president for U.S. retail. He's taken charge of sales of PCs and consumer electronics through third-party retailers. Third-party retailers will play a major role in Gateway's postmerger strategy, the company has indicated.

Meanwhile, Ed Fisher was appointed as Gateway's senior vice president for product planning. He had been eMachines' senior vice president of global sales.

Greg Memo is Gateway's new senior vice president for platform development and operations. Memo, who had a similar role at eMachines, will handle production and procurement.

Several executives will depart Gateway, after an unspecified transition period. They include Scott Edwards, its executive vice president for consumer products, and Jocelyne Attal, executive vice president for Gateway's professional segment. Joe Formichelli, executive vice president of operations, and John Engel, senior vice president of the PC products group, will also leave.

Many of those executives were lured away from other high-profile jobs to help Gateway in its efforts to cut costs and transform itself into a consumer electronics brand. But "this is a new Gateway with a new CEO," Sherbin said of the changes. "Wayne and Ted have selected a team they feel has the right achieve the objectives" the postmerger company will set.

Gateway also made several transitional appointments. Most notably, Erik Gerson will act as senior vice president of Gateway's Consumer Direct division for Web, phone and Gateway store sales.

Although Gateway has yet to announce any of its postmerger products or strategies, analysts suggested that the appointments could hint at some of those plans.

One analyst noted that Gateway appointed a permanent head of third-party retail for the United States but made a temporary appointment to run its Gateway branded direct business, including its chain of stores.

"I don't think it would be too outlandish to read...into that. I think the fact that there is a permanent head of U.S. retail and that the entire Gateway direct business is under an interim head...says to me where at least some of the focus is, going forward," said Steve Baker, an analyst with NPD Techworld.

Many analysts say they expect Gateway to close at least some stores. "I think it says that the stores are at risk," Baker said.

But until Gateway has a way to replace revenue generated by its stores, such as selling Gateway-brand products in third-party' stores, closing its own outlets may prove premature, he added.