Commodore International Ltd., the financially strapped home-computer maker, announced Monday that Thomas Rattigan had been promoted to chief executive, replacing Marshall Smith.
Rattigan, hired away from the chief executive post at Pepsico Bottling International last year, will take the helm of a company that has been hit by sluggish industry sales and price cutting.
Rattigan joined Commodore in April, 1985, to head its North American operations and was promoted to president and chief operating officer in November.
Commodore, headquartered in West Chester, Pa., near Philadelphia, is pegging its hopes for revival on sales of its Amiga and Commodore 128 microcomputers. The market for its older model, the Commodore 64, has faded, although sales perked up around Christmas.
Smith will remain on Commodore`s board of directors and serve as a consultant after Rattigan takes over as chief executive April 1, according to Irving Gould, the company`s chairman.
Smith went to Commodore as president and chief executive in February, 1984, and was named vice chairman in November, 1985.
”With Thomas Rattigan`s new appointment, Commodore is assured of a continuity of strong and decisive leadership,” Gould said in the press release. ”This move completes the executive transition plan that has been in place since Rattigan joined the company.”
Gould praised Smith for ”tough decisions” that he said had made Commodore competitive, and said he was instrumental in bringing Amiga Computer Inc. to Commodore.
Commodore has placed much of its future on the innovative Amiga computer, although sales so far have been at the lower end of the company`s expectations, primarily because of a lack of software.
Commodore reported a net loss of $53.2 million in the fourth quarter of 1985, despite posting sales that were the second highest in its history. The loss, on revenue of $339.2 million, was in contrast to net income of $3.2 million in the year-earlier period, when revenue was about 1 percent lower.
Most of the fourth-quarter loss came from a $29 million writedown against assets and a $22 million charge for the closing of two plants.
Security analysts have said Commodore`s profit outlook remains cloudy, noting that the company has hired an investment banker to investigate further restructuring, which could result in more charges against earnings.