Gateway Loses The Folksy Shtick

CEO Waitt looks west to lure sophisticated talent

At Gateway's North Sioux City, S.D., offices, Chief Executive Theodore W. Waitt meets often and easily with everyone from the chief financial officer to rank-and-file workers. Even after building his personal-computer business from a two-person shop in his parents' barn to a sprawling $6 billion company, Waitt does much of his managing by strolling the hallways. In early June, he popped in on a team designing new self-help software called "Help Spot" and peppered it with questions. The 35-year-old CEO's verdict? "Cool. Keep it up," according to one of the team members.

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