Gateway renews direct sales focus

Gateway renews direct sales focus

Gateway's new chief executive officer Ted Waitt - the company's founder and chairman - will refocus the company on its direct sales roots, he said in a conference call on Tuesday.

Waitt replaces Jeff Weitzen, whose retirement was announced on Monday, after he served as CEO for just over a year.

"Why did this happen? Jeff decided to retire, and I love Gateway," Waitt said.

Waitt's takes the reins when the company is coming under increasing market pressure. It recently lowered financial forecasts for 2001 and on January 11 announced quarterly results that missed analyst expectations.

"We are going to focus on our direct roots; we are going to re-examine store openings," Waitt said, outlining a number of steps he would take to get the company back on track.

His top priorities are to grow the business and "realign cost structures", he told analysts and shareholders listening to the call. "We have got to be aggressive on pricing," he added.

The changes in strategy are accompanied by changes in management. "We flattened the management organszation, my management style is different to Jeff (Weitzen)'s. I needed a management team that could move faster," said Waitt.

The new management team will include Joe Burke as senior vice president and chief financial officer, replacing John Todd, who is "leaving the company to pursue other interests"m according to a company statement released just before the conference. Bart Brown will become senior vice president of Gateway's consumer division, replacing Cliff Holtz who is also "leaving the company to pursue other interests". Finally, Dave Russell will become senior vice president of supply chain management.

Still in post are Sue Parks, senior vice president of Gateway's business division; Mike Hammond, senior vice president and head of global manufacturing operations; William Elliott, senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary; James Pollard, senior vice president and chief information officer; and John Renfro, senior vice president of human resources.

Other executive officer positions have been eliminated and those officers are leaving the company, according to the statement.

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