In a surprising chain of events, Commodore International on Thursday appointed its chairman and largest shareholder, Irving Gould, as chief executive, replacing Thomas A. Rattigan, the cost-cutting manager credited with restoring the computer maker to profitability.
Gould's appointment comes one day after Rattigan, 49, who served as chief executive for little more than a year, resigned and sued Commodore--maker of the Commodore 64 and Amiga microcomputers--in U.S. District Court in New York for more than $9 million for allegedly breaching his five-year employment contract. Rattigan's suit claims that he was suspended last Thursday and the rest of the firm's top management was fired.
Gould, who owns 19.5% of Commodore's common stock, said in a statement: "I look forward to ensuring strong leadership at all significant levels of management, particularly to strengthen the sales function and establish expanded distribution in the United States."
Rattigan's departure came as a surprise to many analysts. Rattigan, a former Pepsico executive who was recruited by Gould two years ago, "gave an upbeat presentation" before a meeting of the Boston Computer Society late last month, said Michael Goulde, senior analyst with Yankee Group, a research firm. "Everything seemed fine, and there seemed to be a high degree of optimism," Goulde said.