PEOPLE : H-P’s Puette to Head Apple’s U.S. Sales Unit

Apple Computer Inc. has completed a six-month shake-up of its top-level management with the appointment of longtime Hewlett-Packard executive Robert Puette as head of U.S. sales and marketing.

Puette, 48, was named president of Apple USA, a position left vacant by the resignation of Allan Z. Loren in January. He reports to Michael Spindler, who was named chief operating officer when Loren resigned.

During a 24-year career at Hewlett-Packard Co., Puette piloted the company’s personal computer business from a start-up to an industry leader. His most recent title was general manager of the personal computer group.

Puette steps into one of the hottest seats at Apple. In the first six months of its current fiscal year, the personal computer maker’s U.S. sales declined 2% while international sales surged.


Domestic sales in the second quarter accounted for just 53% of Apple’s $1.35 billion in revenue, compared to 60% in the same quarter of 1989.

Critics have faulted the company for failing to meet increased competition from makers of low-cost IBM-compatible personal computers. While Apple’s prices remain relatively high, makers of less expensive machines have adopted many of the ease-of-use features that fueled the original popularity of the Apple Macintosh computer.

After Spindler’s appointment, Apple Chairman and Chief Executive John Sculley took charge of new product development. Jean-Louis Gassee, president of Apple Products, resigned.