QLogic COO Quits

More management changes over at QLogic as COO Jeff Benck resigns

March 18, 2008

3 Min Read
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The revolving door continues to spin over at 8-Gbit/s specialist QLogic, with the resignation of president and COO Jeff Benck late last week.

Benck had spent less than a year with the company.

The COO's departure comes just a couple of months after QLogic's CFO Tony Massetti jumped ship to become finance chief at retail giant NCR, leaving a widening hole in the middle of the vendor's management team.

A form 8-K filed with the SEC last week confirmed that Benck resigned from the company on Friday, although the precise details of his departure remain unclear.

Prior to joining QLogic, Benck was at the forefront of IBM's booming blade business, as the vendor's vice president of modular and blade systems development between May 2005 and April 2007.Viewed as the likely heir to QLogic's long-standing CEO H.K. Desai, something appears to have gone wrong in the boardroom.

"I think that he was brought in to be the successor to H.K. Desai," Jayson Noland, senior analyst at R.W. Baird, told Byte & Switch. "H.K. must have decided that this wasn't going to happen and that he is staying put -- I would guess that it was just a disagreement with the CEO about when [Benck] would take that role."

Documents filed with the SEC last year reveal that Benck was earning a $400,000 base salary at QLogic. He was also eligible to participate in the vendor's incentive plan, potentially earning another $280,000.

The exec also received a signing bonus of $260,000, although this would have to be repaid in the event of Benck terminating his contract without "good reason" during his first year of employment.

QLogic would not reveal the circumstances surrounding Benck's departure when Byte & Switch contacted the company earlier today."All that I can tell you is that he resigned on Friday," said Jeanie Herbert, the vendor's senior director of investor relations, adding that H.K. Desai will take over the president and COO's role.

"We're not going to start a search for that [COO] position at this time," explained Herbert. "We're progressing on our CFO search, and we have our focus there."

The executive changes nonetheless come at a crucial time for QLogic, which recently announced that its 8-Gbit/s switches and HBAs are now shipping as part of HP's Simple SAN Connection family. QLogic is currently ramping up its efforts to push this hardware into more OEMs as it competes with archrival Emulex.

"Not having a full lineup of senior management is not good, but it's not a big issue as long as it doesn't last too long," says R.W. Baird analyst Noland. "It's just them and Emulex in this part of the market, so [QLogic] can handle that."

Filling these vacant positions could be easier said than done, according to the analyst. "We believe the search for another successor could take a significant amount of time and effort in combination with the ongoing search for a CFO," he explained in a note released this morning.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC)

  • Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.

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