Patrick J. Martin: Into The Fire At Storage Tek

Give Patrick Martin credit: He's got guts. Martin, who on Tuesday was named chairman and CEO of Storage Technology, is joining a company that is on the ropes.

StorageTek, which makes disks and tapes for warehousing corporate computer data, has posted losses for two straight quarters and has cut 15% of its workforce so far this year. It's losing out to competitors such as IBM, which just a year ago was a key reseller that accounted for nearly 20% of revenues. StorageTek's main business, storage tapes for mainframes, is slowing. And its next big growth area, storage disks, is dominated by EMC, says A.G. Edwards analyst Shebly Seyrafi.

So why does Martin want the job? "The ability to run your own company is just so appealing," says the 23-year veteran of Xerox, where he was last a senior vice-president. "It certainly does have some challenges," Martin admits. He replaces David Weiss, who offered to quit in February when the Louisville (Colo.) company's problems worsened.

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