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Shake-Up at Serviceland : Computer-Repair Firm Lowers Horizons

October 15, 1985|DANIEL AKST | Times Staff Writer

In an effort to stem the red ink, Serviceland Inc. of Westlake Village has abandoned its hopes of covering the nation with computer-repair franchises, the company's new president said.

Patrick Darrah, 41, said the privately held firm will focus instead on growth through company-owned stores in the highly competitive computer-repair business. He predicted that Serviceland would climb out of the red by the end of the year, but he would not give any specific financial information about the company.

Darrah took over as president Sept. 10. He replaced Michael Purdy, who Darrah said was dismissed in a July shake-up initiated by Rothschild Ventures of New York, which owns more than half the company's stock.

At that time, Serviceland fired five top executives. Also last month, chairman George Harmon, the company's founder, resigned.

Harmon said he and the old management group disagreed with Rothschild's plans to emphasize company-owned stores rather than franchises.

Harmon, a 9% shareholder, and Larry McGovern, former Serviceland marketing vice president, have started Service Intelligence Inc. to offer group buying, marketing and consulting to independent computer-repair stores, Harmon said.

The new chairman is Anniello Bianco, a Rothschild executive vice president, who declined comment.

Serviceland has eight company-owned stores and seven others independently operated under a licensing agreement. It will not disclose sales or income, but Harmon said in June that sales last year were $1.3 million.

Harmon, 62, is a former IBM executive who started the company three years ago with funding from Rothschild and STI Venture Fund of Los Altos, Calif., which has less than 10% of the company's stock, Harmon said.

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