Computer maker Dell Computer has announced that founder Michael Dell has resumed the role of the company’s chief executive officer. Michael Dell is replacing Kevin Rollins, who is leaving the firm immediately after taking th CEO seat in 2004.
“The Board believes that Michael’s vision and leadership are critical to building Dell’s leadership in the technology industry for the long-term,” said Samuel A. Nunn, presiding director of Dell’s Board in a statement. “There is no better person in the world to run Dell at this time than the man who created the Direct Model and who has built this company over the last 23 years.”
Michael Dell founded Dell Computer in 1984 while he was still in college, in 1992, he became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. He served as the company’s leader until 2004, when he left the top position but kept his role as the company’s chairman. In moving back to the CEO position, Dell is in the unusual position of replacing his own successor, Rollins, who was a ten-year veteran of the company.
The markets reacted strongly to the news of Michael Dell’s return to the CEO position, pushing Dell’s stock price higher on speculation he will be able to turn the company around from a recent downturn and loss of market share, primarily to rival Hewlett-Packard. In recent quarters, Dell has been facing increasing challenges, highlighted by disappointing financial results, sluggish growth, loss of market share, and criticism from users regarding outsourced customer service and support. Dell is also facing investigations from the SEC, its own audit committee, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York into the company’s finances; the company delayed earnings reports pending results.
As recently as last September, Michael Dell dismissed speculation and stockholder requests that he return to the CEO roll, characterizing Rollins as an “excellent executive” and the right person to be leading the company.