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Maxtor's Stuck in the Mud

Maxtor Corp. (NYSE: MXO) has firmly emerged as the poster boy for the troubled disk drive industry.

These are rough times for drive manufacturers, which have been hurt financially by declining prices and intense competition. But one day after Seagate Technology Inc. (NYSE: STX) hinted things might finally be looking up, Maxtor showed it is still deep in the doldrums (see Maxtor Loses $90.6M).

Besides posting a $90.6 million loss last quarter and giving disappointing guidance for the current quarter, Maxtor is still trying to explain what CEO Paul Tufano calls the white elephant in the living room." The pachyderm in question is the sudden resignation of CFO Michael Bless last Friday, less than two months after taking the job (see Maxtor CFO Quits). Bless replaced Robert Edwards, who resigned in March (see Maxtor Gets New CFO and Maxtor's Bad Hair Day).

Tufano says Bless left for personal reasons, and his departure should not be seen as a negative on Maxtor’s financial practices.

“Clearly, when two CFOs leave you have to stand up and take notice,” Tufano told analysts on a conference call Wednesday night. “So I know there’s probably conjecture and innuendo. I will stand behind these financials 100 percent.”

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