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Perot Quits Firm; Is Expected to Focus on Campaign

<i> from Associated Press</i>

Ross Perot on Tuesday resigned as chairman and chief executive officer of his computer-services company, clearing the way for his expected independent presidential candidacy.

An associate said the Dallas billionaire will spend full time on his presidential “campaign in the making.”

Perot has said that he will run in November if supporters can get him on state ballots, and the effort is well under way. So far, he is on the ballot in six states, and signature-gathering campaigns are in progress throughout the country.

Recent public opinion polls show him leading in a three-way race with President Bush and Democrat Bill Clinton.

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It was the second time in his high-stakes career that Perot has given up the helm of a computer company he built from scratch.

Eight years ago, Perot sold his Electronic Data Systems Corp. for $2.4 billion to General Motors. Now, Perot is resigning as chairman and chief executive officer of Perot Systems Corp.

His handpicked successor, longtime Dallas business associate Morton H. Meyerson, said in an interview that Perot “needs to spend full time” on his expected independent candidacy.

“What he’s working on simply doesn’t allow him to provide the leadership (to the company) that he’s given for the past four years,” Meyerson said. “Therefore, it happened to be convenient. . . . All the stars lined up.”

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Meyerson takes over on Monday, the first day of the month in which Perot is expected to formally announce his candidacy.

Perot created Perot Systems in 1988 after selling his interest in Dallas-based EDS to General Motors in 1984. The firms are competitors in the data-processing field.

Perot will retain a leadership role in the newer company and continue to serve on its board of directors, Perot Systems said in a written statement announcing Perot’s resignation.

Compared to EDS, Perot Systems is relatively small. It had 1991 revenues of $200 million--compared to EDS’ revenue the same year of $7.1 billion.

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