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CompUSA chief to quit and return $11 million in assets

The agreement between CompUSA parent Systemax and Gilbert Fiorentino comes in the wake of a whistle-blower probe and calls for his surrender of 1.13 million shares of stock and a $480,000 cash payment.

May 09, 2011|By Elaine Walker

Reporting from Miami — CompUSA Chief Executive Gilbert Fiorentino has agreed to resign and return $11 million in assets to the electronics retailer's parent company in the wake of a whistle-blower investigation.

Systemax Inc., parent of Miami-based CompUSA and TigerDirect, announced Monday that it had reached an agreement with Fiorentino that calls for the surrender of 1.13 million shares of Systemax stock he owns and a payment of $480,000 in cash.

The agreement also requires Fiorentino to disclose his and his immediate family's personal assets and forfeit undisclosed assets discovered by Systemax. Fiorentino, who also served as CEO of Systemax's Technology Products Group and a director of the publicly traded parent company, agreed to cooperate with Systemax and disclose other information related to the matters surrounding his firing.

Systemax has still not disclosed the substance of the whistle-blower investigation, which led the Port Washington, N.Y., company to place Fiorentino on administrative leave April 18 and begin the process of seeking his termination. Systemax has also refused requests for interviews. Analysts have said it had to do with Fiorentino placing his personal interests ahead of the company.

Systemax said in a statement Monday that the matters investigated occurred over a number of years, did not have any "material impact" on the company's previously reported financial results and were limited to the Miami operations.

CompUSA and TigerDirect employees have described a corporate culture of "fear and intimidation" that started with Fiorentino and filtered throughout most of the company. Employees say they lived in constant fear of losing their jobs and were forced to work overtime hours without compensation.

Fiorentino founded TigerDirect in 1987 in Miami with his brother and a partner as a catalog company that later morphed into one of the early Internet retailers.

Walker writes for the Miami Herald/McClatchy.

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