Dell CFO Gladden Resigns in Highest-Profile Exit Since LBO

Dell Inc. Chief Financial Officer Brian Gladden, who helped oversee the leveraged buyout of the computer maker last year, is resigning and will be replaced by Corporate Controller Thomas Sweet.

Gladden’s exit is the highest-profile departure from Round Rock, Texas-based Dell since founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Management LLC paid $24.9 billion to take it private last year. Gladden has told Chief Executive Officer Dell he has aspirations to be a CEO elsewhere, spokesman David Frink said.

The outgoing CFO, who will remain through February to assure a smooth transition, chose to pursue career interests outside Dell, the company said today in a statement. Sweet, 54, also served as chief accounting officer before his promotion and has worked in corporate finance at Dell for 16 years.

Dell is embarking on a multiyear turnaround as a private company after an almost yearlong takeover fight in which founder Dell and his partner Silver Lake bought the company following months of opposition from dissident shareholders including billionaire financier Carl Icahn. Gladden’s departure follows the November resignation of Chief Commercial Officer Steve Felice, a role that’s been filled by Marius Haas, president of the enterprise group.

“I have discussed my long term career goals with Michael for the last couple of years, and now that we have completed the privatization and we have a great team in place, it seemed like a logical time to make the move,” Gladden said in an e-mail. “I do have a desire to run a company, which I have done before.”

Before joining Dell in 2008, he had been CEO of Sabic Innovative Plastics and had worked for almost 20 years at General Electric Co.

Acquisition Spree

At Dell, Gladden oversaw a string of 20 acquisitions totaling $13 billion since 2009 as the company bought makers of data-center storage, networking and software products in an effort to diversify from the low-margin personal computers that were its roots. The effort wasn’t enough to produce consistent gains in sales and profit or stave off stiff competition in the field from rivals including Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., International Business Machines Corp. and EMC Corp.

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