3Com chief executive Benhamou steps down

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The 3Com Corporation chief executive, Eric Benhamou, had resigned. He is being succeeded as chief executive by Bruce Claflin, 3Com’s president and chief operating officer, on January 1, 2001.

Benhamou, whose departure has been anticipated ever since 3Com successfully spun off its Palm unit in July, will however remain as chairman.

His restructuring of the company showed signs of being on track earlier this week when 3Com reported a substantially smaller 1Q loss than analysts had estimated.

Benhamou, 45, appointed Claflin, 48, president and chief operating officer in 1998. Prior to joining 3Com, Claflin worked for Digital Equipment Corporation and IBM.

At Digital, he was senior vice president and general manager for sales and marketing. At IBM, where he worked for 22 years, Claflin held several senior positions including leading the team responsible for introducing IBM’s ThinkPad line of mobile computers.

Speaking at 3Com’s annual shareholder meeting in Santa Clara, California, Benhamou said: “I believe it is in the best interest of a company and its leader, to self-rejuvenate. It’s been my privilege to serve as 3Com’s CEO for 10 years, a long time in this industry.”

“This transition is taking place at the right time for the right reasons and to the right person,” Benhamou continued. “When I met with 3Com’s board and nominated Bruce Claflin to become CEO, I did so knowing he is committed, and 3Com employees are ready to follow him.”

Benhamou will continue to serve as the chairman of 3Com’s board of directors and, in that capacity, work closely with Claflin on matters ranging from business strategy to technology direction to 3Com’s role in the community.

Specifically, 3Com’s board is establishing a technology committee Benhamou will chair. He will also become more active leading 3Com’s involvement in influencing IT policy and the direction of the industry.

Benhamou will continue to serve as chairman of Palm, Inc. and will join the board of Atrica, a 3Com directed start up.

“Eric deserves the credit for leading 3Com from a company with $380m in annual sales to a company that ranks in the Fortune 300,” said Bruce Claflin. Under Benhamou’s leadership, 3Com grew from a company that had sold one million network connections per year to more than 400 million per year today.

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