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Former Apple exec heads Logitech

Logitech names former Apple executive Guerrino De Luca its new president and CEO.

Logitech has named former Apple executive Guerrino De Luca its new president and CEO.

De Luca, former Apple vice president of worldwide marketing, already has set some high goals for the company. Logitech designs and markets senseware peripherals, which include a high-end mouse, keyboards, and digital video cameras. Additionally, the company is scheduled to release a cordless desktop--a combination cordless keyboard and mouse--in the next few weeks.

De Luca said his primary objective is to transform the young company into a strong market leader, like "Intel is to the microprocessor market."

He's not starting from a position of strength. Last week, Logitech reported third-quarter earnings of $9.1 million, down from net income of $10.5 million reported for the same quarter last year. Its revenues fell to $114.8 million for the quarter, compared with $128.8 million a year ago.

Logitech blamed low-cost PCs for its shrinking revenues from computer makers. The company's high-cost PC add-ons have been one of the victims of the sub-$1,000 PC craze.

"What happens is, as PCs are sold at lower prices, they have to be manufactured at a lower cost," De Luca explained. "There is cost pressure on suppliers of parts, OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] and customers."

He pointed out that the flip side of the cost pressure of low cost PCs is higher sales volume, which, he said, "Logitech is in a position to take advantage of."

De Luca said he plans to ensure that Logitech "commands a leadership position" in the input device market. He named the digital video camera, the next generation mouse, and joysticks as products the company will be focusing on during the next year.

He said also that the release of Windows 98, with its emphasis on the universal serial bus (USB) will bring with it a new wave of Logitech products. "We will pursue USB peripherals across the board of our product line," he said.

De Luca, 45, left Apple in September amid an executive exodus that included chief executive officer Gil Amelio, chief technical officer Ellen Hancock, and chief operating officer George Scalise. Prior to his stint at Apple, De Luca worked for Olivetti, and was named president of Claris, a software vendor and subsidiary of Apple.

"The reason why I joined this company is that it is not only a product innovator, but it has an opportunity to take advantage of the entire interface to the computer," De Luca said. "I have always worked in companies whose products have a broad appeal.... This mixture was very attractive to me."