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Two more top execs bid farewell to EDS

Two top veteran executives resign from Electronic Data Systems, continuing an expected shuffling of high-level management at the IT services giant under new CEO Dick Brown.

Two more top executives have resigned at Electronic Data Systems as an expected shuffle of high-level management at the IT services giant gathers momentum under new CEO Dick Brown.

Chief Information Officer Gary Rudin, 50, and Director of Corporate Marketing John Harris, 50, handed in resignations yesterday, according to the Plano, Texas-based company. Rudin intends to take some time off and Harris will join a venture capital firm, said EDS spokesman Reed Byrum.

"I don't think it's a surprise that we're seeing some turnover," said Thomas Browne Jr., analyst at Prudential Securities. As former head of Cable & Wireless, Brown turned over about half of that firm's top 100 managers in about 2 and a half years.

It's expected that under Brown's management, some veteran executives will stay and others will be forced out or decide to move on, Prudential's Browne said.

Last month, Bob Mintz, executive vice president of human resources at EDS since April 1998, left the firm for personal reasons. The search is continuing for his replacement, Byrum said.

Rudin, CIO and a senior vice president, joined EDS in 1970 as a system engineer team leader and spent 29 years with the company, playing a key role in EDS's support of former EDS parent company General Motors during the 1980s.

More recently, as senior vice president of EDS's Global Operations Council, he oversaw business in the Americas, and South and Central America, as well as the company's health care, energy, utilities, federal government, state and local government, and military business units.

Dan Leffel, a director in the CIO's office, will serve as interim-CIO until Rudin's replacement is named.

A 26-year EDS veteran, Harris, who was also a corporate vice president, joined the company in 1973 as a recruiter and held numerous sales, leadership, and executive positions. Harris had worked in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East and helped build the firm's global business. As head of EDS's Communications Industry Group, he managed services to telecommunications and new media companies in 32 countries.

Sources said Harris was offered a top global sales job at the $16.9 billion company this week, but turned it down. Byrum said he was unaware of any offer.

"He's had a number of offers to go to start-ups as a CEO and looked at the pros and cons and said 'I'm out of here,' " said Susan Scrupski-Miranda, a principal at IT Services Advisory, a consultancy in Hillside, New Jersey.

Joe Eazor, a director of corporate strategy at EDS, will serve as interim head of corporate marketing.

The two resignations are the latest in a stream of personnel changes at the company, with more expected down the pike. The company has about 120,000 employees worldwide and is currently eliminating an unspecified number of jobs under Brown's belt-tightening plan.

"Cuts are being done on a local, departmental basis," Byrum said. "Every department manager makes his or her own decisions to put that department in a position to perform or achieve. We don't work across the board."

When jobs are eliminated, employees have 60 days to reapply for another internal position, Byrum said. Currently, there are about 2,000 jobs open at EDS, he said. The company, which has a 12 percent turnover rate, hired about 30,000 employees last year.