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AST Chief Financial Officer Latest to Leave Ailing Firm

September 07, 1996|GREG MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Another executive has headed for the exits at AST Research Inc.

The struggling computer manufacturer said Friday that its chief financial officer, Joseph Norberg, has resigned. Norberg joined the Irvine-based company only four months ago; his departure comes 10 days after the tenure of AST's chief executive, Ian Diery, came to an end. Diery, hired in November to rescue the company, resigned unexpectedly last week.

The company said Norberg is being replaced, at least temporarily, by Won Suk Yang, a longtime executive with Samsung Electronics Co., the South Korean company that owns 46% of AST.

Yang's appointment further tightens Samsung's management grip on AST. Samsung, which bought 40% of the company for $378 million last year but has since watched AST's stock price plummet, took control of AST's board earlier this year. Diery was replaced last week as CEO by Samsung executive Young Soo Kim.

AST, which has posted nine consecutive quarterly losses, is fighting to regain lost ground in the highly competitive computer industry. The company has seen its share of the PC market shrivel in recent years, as product delays, manufacturing woes and certain acquisitions weakened the company while rivals were charging ahead.

Norberg is the latest in a string of at least eight top executives to leave the company in the last few years.

AST's stock price gained 18.75 cents to close at $5.1875 on Friday on Nasdaq, down nearly 40% from the beginning of the year.

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