Compaq names COO, top exec

Compaq names Michael D. Capellas as its acting chief operating officer and Enrico Pesatori to head up the crucial enterprise computing group.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
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Compaq has named Michael D. Capellas as its acting chief operating officer and Enrico Pesatori to head up the crucial enterprise computing group.

John RoseCompaq also announced that John T. Rose, a longtime Compaq and executive who headed up the enterprise group, is resigning from the company effective June 3. Rose had been a key executive and one of former chief executive Eckhard Pfeiffer's leading lieutenants.

"Given that John Rose was close to Pfeiffer, he was considered part of the old guard. It just made sense to bring in some fresh blood even if it is from within the company," said Ashok Kumar, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis.

Capellas, previously senior vice president and chief information officer at the company, will report directly to the office of the chief executive. "My task going forward is to ensure that our strengths, strategy, and execution mesh to our customers' maximum benefit," Capellas said in a statement.

"Creating this new COO position is an important step in realigning Compaq's organization to speed decision-making," said Ben Rosen, chairman and acting chief executive officer in a statement. One industry source familiar with the action said that the appointments are considered "acting" until a new chief executive is found in order to give this person leeway to make the ultimate decision about positions.

"The process of realignment...should not distract us from our core goals and strategies. The objective of these changes is to simplify operations and improve execution," according to an internal memo from Ben Rosen sent to Compaq employees.

Enrico Pesatori will become senior vice president and group general manager of Compaq's Enterprise Computing Group, effective June 3.

The departure of Rose follows other key executives who have stepped down in the wake of the forced resignation of Pfeiffer. These include John Rando, senior vice president and general manager of Compaq Services, and Kenny Kurtzman, manager of Compaq.com, who left to become chief executive at Ashford.com.

Enrico Pestori Earlier, Mike Heil, Compaq's former general manager of worldwide sales, and Earl Mason, former CFO--two executives associated with Pfeiffer who many said would not likely have survived a reorganization--took off for CEO spots at other companies.

The new acting COO Capellas joined Compaq in August, 1998, after serving as senior vice president and general manager of Oracle's global energy business. Previously, he spent 18 years with Schlumberger in a variety of management positions, including heading worldwide information services, Compaq said.

He also served as director of supply chain management for SAP America and Managing Director of Benchmarking Partners. He began his professional career at Republic Steel, where he served in various systems analysis and manufacturing positions, according to a statement by Compaq.

The company also announced that, during Capellas's tenure as acting COO, Fred Jones, vice president, Information Services, has been named acting chief information officer.

A critical division
Meanwhile, Pesatori will continue in his role as Compaq's acting senior vice president of corporate marketing. But in his new post Pesatori will take over a critical division that has driven Compaq's growth for the last decade or so. The enterprise group oversees sales of Compaq server computers, the company's most lucrative business, as well as workstation sales, another important business for generating profits.

Pesatori came over to Compaq from Tandem Computers when Compaq bought out the maker of high-performance computers used for powering ATMs at banks and credit card purchases.

Reporting to Michael Capellas will be the Enterprise Computing Group, Personal Computer Products Group, Consumer Products Group, North America, Europe Middle East, and Africa, Global Regions and the Supply Chain Management organization. Services, Corporate Marketing, Finance and Administration, Human Resources and Environment, Legal, Technology and Corporate Development, and AltaVista will continue to report directly to the Office of the Chief Executive, according to a Compaq memorandum.