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Storage giant EMC shuffles top executives

In an effort to stay at the top of the high-end storage game, EMC promotes President Joe Tucci to chief executive while making former CEO Mike Ruettgers chairman of the board.

In an effort to stay at the top of the high-end storage game, EMC has promoted President Joe Tucci to chief executive while making former CEO Mike Ruettgers chairman of the board.

As a part of the move, Dick Egan, founder and former chairman, is now chairman Emeritus; and Maureen Egan has retired from the board, the company said Wednesday. Ruettgers will spend his effort on more strategic issues, the company said.

Ruettgers has led EMC from obscurity to one of the "four horsemen of the Internet"--along with Cisco, Sun Microsystems and Oracle, the dominant sellers of hardware and software used to build high-powered Web sites. Ruettgers, who took over EMC's top position nine years ago in the early stages of its transition to a storage company, boasts that his maniacal focus on what his customers want has been what's enabled the company to prosper.

"The last time I gave Mike Ruettgers a promotion, it turned out to be a pretty good move," Dick Egan said in a statement.

Indeed, EMC's stock was trading at a split-adjusted 33 cents per share when Ruettgers took over but was trading above $100 part of last year.

Tucci will take over some new directions for EMC, a company that is in the crosshairs of IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, Network Appliance, Hitachi Data Systems and pretty much anybody else sick of losing storage system sales to EMC. One such new direction is the addition of comparatively low-end storage systems that for the first time mean EMC is competing directly with another storage specialist, Network Appliance.

Tucci is a comparative newcomer who joined EMC in January 2000 after leaving the chief executive position of Wang Global, a former computing giant that fell into unprofitability and was acquired in 1999 by Dutch computing company Getronics. While at Wang, Tucci lifted the company out of bankruptcy protection and boosted revenue to $3.5 billion, but Tucci said at the time he was sad that the company couldn't remain independent.