Top officials, 50 jobs axed at Zenith

Zenith Data Systems last week began a reorganization that eliminated 50 jobs and triggered the departure of longtime federal PC marketeers Tom Buchsbaum and Pat Gallagher.

In the reorganization ZDS a division of Packard Bell NEC Inc. will focus exclusively on the federal state and local government markets. ZDS will transfer its education and commercial market business to NEC. ZDS' field sales force which had been focused primarily on education and commercial markets will turn its attention to government.

Jim Shea newly appointed vice president and general manger of ZDS said the "decentralized sales force" will provide better sales and technical support. He said ZDS' government sales organization formerly had been centralized at its Herndon Va. headquarters. Shea said the Herndon office will continue to play a role in tracking business opportunities and supporting the field sales force.

In light of the decentralization 50 positions in engineering sales and administrative support among other areas have been eliminated. So to have the positions of Buchsbaum executive vice president Gallagher vice president of sales and Joel Lipkin vice president of systems integration. The personnel changes go into effect immediately with the exception of Buchsbaum who will remain at ZDS through this month.

Shea said the departures of Buchsbaum Gallagher and Lipkin stemmed from the reorganization and are not a reflection of their performance. He said they are "all top-notch."

Buchsbaum said he had no definite plans and would likely take some time off. As for ZDS he said the company "has a lot of fine people left. I think they will be successful." The other executives could not be reached for comment.

ZDS had difficulties between September and December in meeting delivery requirements under its cornerstone Desktop V contract with the Air Force. The Air Force Shea said "will see a heightened level of attention due to the restructuring."

Lt. Col. Andrew Gilmore director of contracting at the Air Force's Standard Systems Group (SSG) said ZDS briefed the service on the reorganization the day before the Thursday announcement. Gilmore said he was "encouraged that ZDS now will focus only on government business.... I'm impressed with the Packard Bell management." SSG manages the Air Force's small computer contracts including Desktop V.

Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc. McLean Va. said ZDS' decentralized structure could help the company at a time when the federal government in light of procurement reform has decentralized buying decisions. "You've got to be in the face of the client " Dornan said.

- Bob Brewin contributed to this story.

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