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Clear The Dec


In Business This Week

CLEAR THE DEC

It's sail-trimming time for Digital Equipment CEO Robert Palmer. The troubled computer maker has lost $4 billion since 1991, and its debt ratings are under review by Standard & Poor's. Now, as part of yet another restructuring to be unveiled by mid-July, Palmer must divest some major businesses. Former executives say suitors are eyeing operations that account for about $3 billion in revenues--among them Digital's management consulting and systems integration, disk storage, and software units.

To accelerate those sales, Palmer named Controller Vincent Mullarkey Jr. as his new chief financial officer, replacing William Steul, who resigned on May 26. Insiders say Steul had argued for a more deliberate approach to asset sales. Not Mullarkey: "We have significant opportunity to raise cash in the assets of the company," he says. As controller, the low-key, 46-year-old executive put the brakes on company-paid travel. Now he pledges to slash receivables by a quarter. Good idea: Analysts expect DEC will have to take $1 billion in new restructuring charges this quarter--enough to exhaust its current $930 million cash cushion.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS Gary McWilliams


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