Dell's founder and chairman returns to CEO post


Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 11:09 p.m.

ROUND ROCK, Texas — Computer maker Dell Inc. said Wednesday that Chairman Michael Dell will return to the role of chief executive, replacing Kevin Rollins, effective immediately. The company also forecast fourth-quarter profit and sales below Wall Street expectations.

Dell has served as chairman since founding the company in 1984 and was chief executive until 2004. The company said Rollins also resigned as a member of the board.

The company forecast that profit and revenue will fall below analysts' consensus estimates of 32 cents per share on sales of $15.30 billion.

During Rollins' tenure, Dell was battered by a recall of 4.1 million potentially flammable notebook batteries made by Sony Corp. and by disappointing earnings. The company's accounting practices also are the subject of federal scrutiny. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York has subpoenaed documents related to Dell's financial reporting from 2002 to the present.

Michael Dell, who handpicked Rollins as his successor, defended the beleaguered executive in September, saying Rollins wasn't solely responsible for the company's recent missteps.

Shares fell 7 cents to close earlier Wednesday at $24.22 on the Nasdaq Stock Market and slipped 6 cents in aftermarket activity.

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