Parks replaces Van Andrews, who quietly left the company in May and later became CEO of U.S. Robotics. Gateway is looking to Parks to boost the company's efforts to sell to small and medium-sized businesses, government and education customers.
"Susan has the perfect mix of experience and acumen to execute our beyond-the-box strategy at Gateway Business and to achieve the aggressive goals we have set for that unit," Gateway chief executive Jeff Weitzen said in a statement.
Gateway executives expressed their disappointment with the performance of the business unit in the company's second-quarter earnings conference call in July.
Business sales at Gateway dropped 10 percent compared with last year's second quarter. That was less than the 19 percent drop seen in the first quarter, but revenues were below what some analysts had hoped for. Gateway projected the business unit would see sales gains by the fourth quarter.
"We have a lot of focus on fixing that business," chief financial officer John Todd said at the time.
Parks is the first woman to become a senior vice president at Gateway and the highest-ranking female employee at Gateway. Elizabeth Dole is an outside director on Gateway's board.
At US West, Parks headed the business and government unit, a $2.6 billion division with 3,500 employees. Before working at Qwest, which was acquired by US West, Parks worked in management positions at Mead Corporation and Avery-Dennison.