IBM Replaces Consumer Division Chief

<i> From Associated Press</i>

The IBM Corp. executive who oversaw a decline in the company’s personal computer business was replaced on Wednesday, sending a strong signal the company wants to turn around the division.

IBM replaced Jim Firestone, 43, with Michael Braun, 48, head of a small software maker and a former IBM veteran with experience dealing with wholesalers and store chains.

Firestone, manager of IBM’s consumer division for three years, left to manage Xerox Corp.'s marketing of products through office superstores and other outlets.

IBM wanted to demonstrate it is serious about lifting sales of personal computers. The move comes just two days after IBM reported that sluggish sales of PCs were a major contributor to flat second-quarter profits at the world’s largest computer company.


“IBM wants to show that we want to be very aggressive in the marketplace,” said Edward Barbini, a company spokesman.

Braun worked for IBM for 20 years, during which he helped introduce IBM PCs and more recently helped manage the company’s multimedia business.