OCZ Drafts New CEO

Ralph Schmitt - Courtesy PLX Technologies, Inc.OCZ has drafted a replacement CEO from its board of directors.  Ralph Schmitt, who until yesterday was CEO of PLX Technologies, will lead the company starting today.

In a conference call early this morning Mr. Schmitt laid out his plans:

Our actions will be based on innovation, quality, and profitability. Our focus will be to further penetrate OEMs and the enterprise market.

He comes to OCZ with a very strong background, after having served as CEO of PLX for four years, Sipex for 2 years, and Exar for a year after Exar acquired Sipex.  Last year he became chairman of the GSA.  He also served for six years as executive vice president of sales, marketing, and business development for Cypress Semiconductor.

Schmitt had an interesting summary of his view of the company: “OCZ has a polarizing image – there are relentless fans and equally relentless detractors. It is my goal to continue to do those things that make people so passionate about this company. We will build the highest performing and most reliable products in our target markets and fix the things that have been the source of our very vocal detractors. Credibility & consistency will be paramount. and we will talk less and execute better.”

Asked about the causes for the company’s current problems, Schmitt explained that there were some customer incentives that were larger than what was customary & normal in the past, and these triggered control procedures.  OCZ announced this morning that the company will delay its earnings announcements until this issue has been fully analyzed.  Both revenues and earnings are expected to fall short of the company’s earlier projections.  He did not go into further detail.

He commented that the company manufactures a broader range of products, especially in the value segment, than a company of its size can rationalize.  Part of his recovery plan is to trim the product line focusing on higher-performance products especially for OEMs and the enterprise.

In response to a question about NAND shortages Schmitt answered that OCZ has a single supplier for certain NAND (the Vertex 4 uses Intel) and produced inaccurate forecasts that led to a shortage when that supplier could not rapidly respond to unforeseen upticks.

At the end of the call Schmitt gave his outlook for the company’s direction: “OCZ is committed to supporting our customers. We have already made great strides in discontinuing value products and non-core products. Focusing strategy on enterprise.  We have lost credibility but we will win it back.  We will focus on predictable, sustainable, & profitable results, but this will not happen overnight.”

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