Michael Dell In Charge, "Period"

The computer maker's founder sounds off on the departure of Kevin Rollins as CEO and his plans to "fix this business"

In a November interview with BusinessWeek.com, Dell (DELL) Chairman Michael Dell dismissed as "nonsense" the notion that then-Chief Executive Kevin Rollins would be nudged aside in the wake of a string of quarterly financial disappointments (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/9/06, "Dell Stands By His Man").

That outcome made a lot more sense by Jan. 31, when the computer maker said Rollins was out, and that Dell would be taking his place as CEO. BusinessWeek Senior Writer Peter Burrows spoke to Dell soon after the management changes were announced.

Here's what Dell had to say on his role at the company:

"I'm not hiring a COO or a CEO. I'm going to be the CEO for the next several years. Period, full stop."

On whether the board made him push out Rollins:

"That's not true. The board has to approve a new CEO. But I recommended to our board that I become the CEO. Kevin is a great friend of mine, and he did a fantastic job for the company. But that's done, and now we want to move forward."

On what will change on his watch:

"Having a clear, unified strategy and focus and organization is what the company needs. We've got a number of significant changes we're going to make. But Dell has a lot of hidden assets and great people. I'm a decisive guy, and we're moving fast. I don't want to give the impression we'll do it all in a short period of time, but there's a ton of opportunity (for improvement). I'm excited about it. I know a lot about the company, and think we have a fantastic team that is very motivated to succeed…. You're going to have a clearer and more unified focus from Dell. We're going to fix this business."

On costs:

"I think you're going to see a more streamlined organization, with a much clearer strategy."

On Dell's direct sales approach to marketing:

"It's a significant strength of the company. We think there are ways to enhance that strength, that might not be fully understood outside the company. Dell's core strengths historically will be its core strengths in the future. This is a company that can execute quite a bit better on things it already knows how to do."

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