3Com Skipper Resigns
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Just a couple days after 3Com announced better-than-expected fiscal results for the first quarter, Chief Executive Officer Eric Benhamou stepped down after fulfilling a 10-year gig with the evolving network equipment maker.
Benhamou turned the reins over to President and Chief Operating Officer Bruce Claflin, whose appointment will kick in January 1, 2001. Benhamou will continue to work with Claflin as chairman of 3Com's board of directors. 3Com's board is establishing a technology committee Benhamou will chair to ensure the company's technology strategy receives the highest levels of visibility and commitment.
Benhamou made the announcement at 3Com's annual shareholder meeting Thursday, but did not go into the specifics of his decision.
"This transition is taking place at the right time for the right reasons and to the right person," Benhamou continued. "3Com has completed a radical strategic transformation and entered a new phase of growth."
"Benhamou will continue to be active in many areas -- in developing information technology policy and dealing with "digital divide" issues," Leone said.
Leone also said Claflin would not have to make a huge adjustment because he had been extremely active in his role as president and COO over the past two years.
Claflin, who got his managerial chops at Digital Equipment Corp. and IBM, has been responsible for 3Com's worldwide operations including all product and service businesses, sales and marketing since 1998. In his 22 years at IBM, Claflin is perhaps best known for pushing Big blue's ThinkPad line.
"Eric deserves the credit for leading 3Com from a company with $380 million in annual sales to a company that ranks in the Fortune 300. I'm very enthusiastic about leading 3Com into a new era of growth," said Claflin.
While resignations at companies occurring at a steady rate often goes hand in hand with firms that are struggling, 3Com's financial status is far from lacking. On Tuesday the firm announced a loss of only 12 cents per share, a far cry from the estimated 33 cents per share many insiders predicted for the connectivity specialist. That posting came during a year that saw the firm spin off its successful Palm Inc. business -- and refocus its sales target at small to medium sized businesses.