Dell hires its ‘top advisor’ Chuck Whitten from Bain & Co as third member of leadership cabal

Seeks extra decision-making bandwidth “to lead next phase of growth” by appointing two co-chief operating officers


Dell has appointed a new member of its senior leadership team: former Bain & Company director Chuck Whitten.

A statement announcing Whitten’s appointment characterises him as Dell’s “top advisor” and “an integral part of the team for a long time working across strategy, transformation and operations” who has “worked alongside Dell leadership to help shape Dell’s strategy and growth initiatives”. His job is to “lead Dell’s next phase of growth”.

At Bain, Whitten mostly practiced in IT advisory. He will serve as co-COO, a role he will share with Vice-Chair Jeff Clarke.

Clarke said Whitten has come aboard to give Dell “greater leadership capacity to cover more ground, assess more opportunities and speed decision making to best serve customers”.

“Together Jeff, Chuck and I will shape the future of the company and accelerate the outcomes we can drive for customers,” says Michael Dell’s canned quote regarding the appointment. “Chuck’s leadership, energy, knowledge and humanity make him the obvious choice to join our team and strengthen our industry leadership.”

Dell has issued a regulatory filing about the appointment, revealing that Whitten will be paid $900,000 a year, is eligible for a $5M sign-on bonus, plus shares worth $45M.

Clarke is currently Dell’s sole COO, but says he’s happy to work alongside Whitten. Dell’s regulatory filing may explain his happiness, as the company has increased his possible bonus from 100 per cent of salary to 150 per cent.

There’s no word on the strategies to which Whitten will be asked to contribute, but Dell has recently decided to divest itself of almost all software assets and pursue IT-as-a-service and telecoms markets, in addition to its conventional strengths in clients, data centre tin, and dabbling in open networking. ®

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