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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 March, 2004, 22:07 GMT
Michael Dell hands over CEO role
Michael Dell
Michael Dell founded the firm 20 years ago
Computer maker Dell has said its founder Michael Dell is to step aside as chief executive, although he will remain the company's chairman.

Mr Dell will be replaced by Kevin Rollins, the firm's president and chief operating officer, from July.

However, the company said Mr Dell would "remain deeply involved in the company's day-to-day business".

Mr Dell founded the firm 20 years ago when he was a student. Last year the firm recorded sales of $41.4bn.

Smooth changeover

Mr Rollins has been second in charge at Dell since he joined the firm in 1996 from management-consulting firm Bains & Co.

Analysts said the reshuffle at Dell made sense and should not upset investors.

Born 1965
Founded Dell in 1984 with $1,000 while a student at the University of Texas
Became the youngest ever CEO of a company on the Fortune 500 list in 1992
Dell now employs 46,000 staff worldwide with annual sales of $41.4bn

"Rollins' magic has been in operations, and that's been a perfect fit for Dell," Roger Kay, a computing analyst at IDC, told the AFX news agency.

"He's been effectively running the company for a while, so the question was how to reward him. There's still plenty of responsibility to go around."

The firm also sought to assure any investors worried about the move.

"This shouldn't be perceived as some sort of sea change," said company spokesman T.R. Reid.

"Michael's more into our opportunities and where technology is going, and Kevin likes running the day-to-day operations.

"This change allows them to catch up to their predilections."

On Wall Street, shares in Dell closed down 17 cents at $32.96.

Growing range

Dell is the world's second largest personal computer maker.

Kevin Rollins
Kevin Rollins is due to become Dell chief executive on 16 July
The firm has specialised in selling inexpensive personal computers by shipping direct to consumers, cutting out the retailer.

Its aggressive pricing strategy has enabled it to win market share from other PC makers. Last August it chopped prices by up to 22% in a further attempt to win sales.

In recent years Dell has expanded into printers, data storage systems and cash registers.

And last September, it announced plans to expand into the consumer electronics market by launching products such as TVs and its own digital music player.

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