It's In With The Old Slate And Out With The New At Maxtor

Michael Wingert, a 10-year veteran at Maxtor and the company's former vice president and general manager of the Server Products Group, will take over as president and COO, the company confirmed. Forty-four-year-old Wingert left the company this summer to serve as president and CEO of Cornice, a start-up manufacturer of mini hard drives.

Another returning top-level executive, C.S. Park, was appointed Maxtor CEO last Monday. Park, 56, served as president and CEO of Maxtor from 1995 to 1996 and has been on the company's board of directors since 1994.

The departure of Tufano, 51, marked the loss of Maxtor's third CFO in nine months. Tufano served as acting CFO since Oct. 14, when Michael Bless resigned after only seven months on the job. Bless replaced Robert Edwards, who resigned in March.

The going has been rough for Maxtor of late. Along with the changing ranks at the company's helm, Maxtor had difficulty with a huge OEM deal with Dell this year because of problems with the hard drives it supplied. Maxtor would not comment on the Dell relationship prior to a previously announced analyst call planned for Dec. 8, a company spokesman said.

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Maxtor last July also announced it would lay off between 400 and 500 employees.

Last month, the company said revenue for its fiscal third quarter of 2004 was $927.2 million, down from nearly $1.07 billion the year before. The company lost $90.6 million in the quarter, including $27.2 million related to severance pay for former employees and facilities closings, compared with earnings of $29.9 million last year.

John Boghosian, owner of JWB and Associates, an Atlanta-based white-box system builder, said bad news from Maxtor could have an effect on customers' positive perceptions of the vendor.

However, he also said Maxtor has a solid foundation, and the company will be able to weather its current problems. "They have solid products," he said. "And their OneTouch [family of external hard drives] is a great product."