Dell Computer Gets A New Chief

Kevin Rollins, senior vice president of Dell Americas, poses with a Dell Workstation 400 at a news conference Monday, July 28, 1997, in New York. CBS/AP

Michael Dell will step aside as chief executive of the computer company he founded and be replaced by president and chief operating officer Kevin Rollins in July, Dell Inc. announced Thursday.

The board of directors, meeting in New York, named Rollins CEO effective at the annual shareholder meeting July 16. Rollins also will be nominated to Dell's board at the annual meeting.

Dell, who founded the company 20 years ago while a student at the University of Texas, will remain deeply involved in day-to-day business as chairman, the company said.

The company said the change in titles was consistent with the main roles played by the two men: Dell has overseen trends in customer preference and research and development, while Rollins has focused on company strategy and operations.

On the board, Rollins would replace Mort Topfer, a director since December 1999, who has decided not to run for re-election, the company said. Topfer retired as a Dell executive in December 2001.

Dell, based in Round Rock, had sales last year of $41.4 billion. Last month the company reported that fourth-quarter earnings rose 24 percent from a year earlier, to $749 million. Dell and Rollins gave an upbeat assessment of first-quarter product shipments.

The company has been expanding from its beginnings as a maker of personal computers to manufacturing other devices. It is known for pressing suppliers to keep costs down, helping it compete against other computer makers on price.

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