Dell Continues to Fall Apart as Mobile Chief Ron Garriques Leaves

Ron Garriques, head of Dell's (DELL) mobile operation, is leaving, according to papers filed with the SEC. He will get $1.44 million in severance pay and $378,000 in incentive pay. His last day will be Jan. 28, 2011, though he will also get a one-year consulting deal for next year. He is, therefore, virtually gone.

His departure is significant. Garriques runs the wireless business for both Dell's phones and tablet-style PCs. Dell has the Aero smartphone and Adamo mini-PC, but neither has sold well.

Dell may be undermining one of the few bright spots in the commodity PC industry -- portable machines powered by 3G, Wimax, and eventually 4G. Why the company would take the action is a mystery, although it has been badly run since founder Michael Dell returned as CEO back in early 2007. The company's stock is down 15% in the last year, while the Nasdaq is up almost 15%.

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Dell has not had much good news lately. It has been through SEC investigations that led to the departures of several executives. Michael Dell himself was charged with bribery by the government as part of the Intel (INTC) probe, but has settled those charges. The company has also been accused of knowingly shipping tens of thousands of PCs with defects. And it has consistently lost global PC market share.

Investors have suffered through the mistakes. Dell's longer term share price track record is even worse than its more recent performance. The stock is off 55% during the last five years, while the Nasdaq is up 10%. All of this has occurred on Michael Dell's watch And, now Dell is letting go an executive that managed one of the businesses most critical to the company's future.

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