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Management Shake-Up at Pinnacle Micro

Reorganization: Top executive quits in dispute with founder's son, who also resigns from board.

December 10, 1996|MARTIN MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

IRVINE — In another sign of Pinnacle Micro Inc.'s continuing struggle, the company's interim president and chief executive officer has stepped down, citing "fundamental" differences with the son of the founder.

Lawrence Goelman resigned Friday after disagreements with Scott Blum, son of company founder William F. Blum. Scott Blum also resigned from the board. Neither Goelman, who held the chief executive's post for about seven months, nor Scott Blum could be reached for comment.

As part of the weekend management shake-up, William Blum, who had retired in May, returns to the board of directors. Blum, who founded Pinnacle Micro in 1987, had stepped aside in May as the top executive and a director after the company lost $3.9 million in the first quarter this year.

The company, which makes optical data storage devices that use laser beams to record and retrieve information, named Kenneth Campbell president. Campbell, who joined the company in April as executive vice president, technology and general manager, was also named to the board of directors.

In other board changes, Charles Laverty, president and chief executive of Urohealth Systems, resigned as a director, and Roger Hay, chief financial officer of Pinnacle Micro, was appointed to the board.

"This is just one of those things that happens to a company," Campbell said. "We don't see any major changes in direction. . . . We feel very bullish about where the company is headed."

In Nasdaq trading Monday, Pinnacle's stock dropped 25 cents to close at $4.75 a share.

In addition to the management turnover, Pinnacle Micro has been struggling financially this year. The company laid off about 15% of its 190 work force in May, and has posted losses of $15.6 million for the first three quarters as sales dropped 29%.

William Blum started Pinnacle with his wife and son using $83,000 from a lump-sum retirement payment from Hewlett-Packard Co., where he had spent 21 years as an engineer and sales and marketing manager.

William and Scott Blum and the Blum Trusts still own 99% of the company's shares, according to a company spokesman. However, under a "standstill" agreement, the Blums cannot initiate changes to the company's board or management for the next year.

Analysts say the optical storage business has not been strong overall because its products are more expensive than those of magnetic storage devices. Pinnacle competes with larger optical and magnetic storage device makers, including Fujitsu, Sony, Phillips and even neighboring hard-drive maker Western Digital Corp.

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