By Jim Finkle
BOSTON Jan 7 Michael Dell has lost of one of
the key lieutenants he recruited to help him turn around his
ailing computer company.
David Johnson, Dell Inc's senior vice president for
corporate strategy, has left to take a senior position with
investment company Blackstone Group LP, according to Dell
spokesman David Frink.
He joined Dell in 2009 from IBM, where he served as
head of mergers and acquisitions. IBM waged an unsuccessful
legal effort to prevent Johnson from taking the job at Dell,
citing a non-compete clause in an employment agreement.
Johnson was not available to comment on his new position.
Officials at Blackstone could not be reached.
During his three years at the computer maker, Johnson
oversaw some 20 acquisitions worth about $10 billion, according
He oversaw the 2009 purchase of Perot Systems Corp, which
catapulted Dell into the technology services market alongside
IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. Other deals during his
tenure included Quest Software, SecureWorks, SonicWall Inc and
Rival Hewlett Packard has had to take large write-offs for
several acquisitions, including outsourcing services provider
EDS and data analytics firm Autonomy. Dell has proven more
circumspect, analysts say, at one point ceding to HP after a
bidding war drove up the price of a data storage firm that both
Shannon Cross, an analyst with Cross Research, said Johnson
built an infrastructure at Dell that is adept at identifying
acquisition targets and integrating them into the company.
"Dell has successfully used Johnson's team to expand its IP
and product portfolio," she said.
Johnson, who reported directly to Michael Dell, will be
replaced by two vice presidents who will report to the company's
chief financial officer, Brian Gladden.
"He leaves a strong and sustainable organization behind, one
that will continue to execute our strategy and pursue our
aggressive M&A activities," Frink said in a statement.
He is leaving at a tough time for Dell. Its stock has
tumbled 30 percent over the past year, while the Nasdaq
Composite Index has climbed 16 percent.
Dell's hardware sales have fallen as it has struggled to
develop mobile devices to compete with Apple Inc's
iPhone and iPad as well as smartphones and tablets running on
Google Inc's Android operating system.
Business customers have generally cut back on buying of
hardware from Dell and other suppliers in recent months until
the economy shows new signs of strength.
In its most recent quarter, the company reported a 47
percent drop in quarterly profit. Once the world's largest maker
of PCs, it has fallen to the No. 3 spot, behind Lenovo
Vice President Chris Kleiman was named to run Dell's M&A
team, while Vice President Prakash Jothee was picked to head up
its corporate strategy team.