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AST's Chief Financial Officer Resigns

High tech: Norberg is the latest exec to leave the Irvine computer maker.

September 07, 1996|GREG MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

IRVINE — 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, and his departure comes 10 days after the tenure of AST's chief executive, Ian Diery, also came to an end. Diery, hired last November to rescue the company, resigned unexpectedly last week.

The company said that Norberg is being replaced, at least temporarily, by Won Suk Yang, a long-time 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 of directors earlier this year. Diery was replaced last week as CEO by Samsung executive Young Soo Kim.

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

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

AST's stock price gained 18.75 cents to close at $5.188 on Friday, down nearly 40% from the beginning of the year, on the Nasdaq market.

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