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Key Dell strategist leaves company

A little more than a week after vowing Dell Computer will win the PC price war, the company announces that one of its chief strategists is leaving.

A little more than a week after vowing Dell Computer will win the PC price war, the company announced that one of its chief strategists is leaving.

Tom Meredith, Dell's senior vice president of business development and strategy and a managing director in Dell's venture group, will leave the company at the end of August, a company representative confirmed. The departure is voluntary, the representative added.

His departure marks the second recent change in the company's senior management team. In March, Carl Everett, who oversaw the division responsible for corporate PCs, notebooks and workstations, announced he was retiring. Jeff Clarke, a 14-year Dell veteran, has been appointed to take his place.

Meredith was largely responsible for charting Dell's aggressive growth strategy. Feeling the pinch of the PC slowdown last fall, Dell began dramatically cutting costs in an effort to gain market share, according to Meredith. The strategy so far has worked. Although its profit margins have dropped, Dell overtook Compaq Computer in the first quarter as the world's largest PC manufacturer.

The company also has been making major gains overseas, especially in Asian markets. In the fourth quarter, Dell saw PC shipments grow by 52 percent and 62 percent, respectively, in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.

"I'm a big believer in demographics, and you can't ignore that the world GDP (gross domestic product) will shift to Asia over the next 10 to 15 years," Meredith told an audience at the J.P. Morgan H&Q investment conference in San Francisco earlier this month.

Before his role as a strategist, Meredith served as Dell's chief financial officer. He was also a member of the "operating committee," a select group of senior managers that advised Michael Dell, and he was a co-managing director of Dell Ventures.

Earlier this week, Dell announced it will lay off approximately 4,000 employees in an effort to cut costs. Many of the cuts will come through a consolidation of similar divisions in the company and a reduction in managers.