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EMC's Chief adds Chairman title to collection

Tucci Benucch

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EMC will bestow the title of Chairman on current President and CEO Joe Tucci come January. Tucci will take over the Chairman role from longtime EMCer Mike Ruettgers, who will hang around as a senior advisor to the board.

EMC's statement on this brass shuffling lacked the typical chatter about Ruettgers wanting to spend more time with his family or pursue fish farming in Alaska. An EMC spokesman, however, confirmed that he was pretty sure the family time thing was an issue, which helped put our mind at ease.

"Joe Tucci has clearly been the right leader at the right time for EMC," said Ruettgers. "In five years as President and CEO, Joe has led EMC through a remarkable period of transformation, resurgence and success. . . . He has built a deep and talented bench. And he and the people of EMC have now delivered nine straight quarters of double-digit year-to-year revenue growth."

Ruettgers, 62, joined EMC in 1988 - well after the company's early furniture selling days. He served as CEO from 1992 to 2001 and acted as Chairman since then. As senior advisor, Ruettgers will be allowed to talk to customers and give the board his valued opinions.

In this post Enron/WorldCom/Insert Scandal Company Here world, it's rare to see a top executive take on three titles. Sun Microsystems' Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy, for example, faced pressure to give up his President designation and eventually did. Corporate governance types prefer to see the roles of Chairman, CEO and President spread between at least two people.

EMC also appointed board member David Strohm to the newly created position of lead director of the board seemingly in an effort to answer some of these governance questions.

"The addition of this role to the EMC Board is good corporate governance practice and positive for EMC and our shareholders," Ruettgers said.

Tucci's ascension will surprise few who have watched EMC over the past few years. The CEO pushed EMC to increase its software revenue and has been aggressive in pursuit of this goal with many major acquisitions. EMC has enjoyed consistent, double-digit growth, leaving it and Dell as the only real Tier I hardware players to pull off this feat. ®

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