Xerox Chief Thoman Fired

Thursday, May 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — Rick Thoman, just 13 months into his tenure as chief executive officer of troubled business machines manufacturer Xerox Corp., was fired Thursday.

Thoman was asked by members of the board of directors to resign, a source familiar with Thursday's events told The Associated Press.

An announcement from the company was expected after the stock market closed, said the source, who would only speak on condition of anonymity.

Xerox spokeswoman Crista Carone said the company had no immediate comment.

Xerox has struggled for more than a year with slumping sales and a balky sales force restructuring. Shares, which were unchanged at $27.50 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange, are trading well off their 52-week high of $62.62 1/2 .

Thoman, former chief financial officer at IBM, was hired as the No. 2 executive at Xerox in June 1997 before taking the helm in April 1999.

A cost-cutter at IBM who helped reverse that company's declining fortunes, he was seen as a leader who could help Xerox regain its leadership position in the small and large office machine markets.

The Stamford-based company, best known for its photocopying machines, has struggled against Hewlett-Packard and Canon in the small- and home-office markets.

Last month Xerox reported a $243 million first-quarter loss, which followed an announcement in March the company would lay off 5,200 employees and close several plants.

Xerox took a pretax charge of $625 million to cover the costs of the restructuring. Excluding that and other one-time charges, Xerox had earnings of $220 million, or 30 cents per share, in the quarter, down 36 percent compared with $343 million, or 48 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenues in the quarter rose 3 percent to $4.43 billion, up from $4.30 billion in the year-ago period.

There was no immediate word on a successor to Thoman.