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Change At The Top At Unisys

Lawrence Weinbach, credited with helping the company become less dependent on its commodity hardware business, is stepping down as president immediately and as CEO in January.

Computer systems and services vendor Unisys Corp. said Tuesday that top executive Lawrence Weinbach will relinquish his title of president immediately and will step down as CEO in January. Weinbach, 64, will stay on as chairman through January 2006. He joined the company in 1997. As part of its succession plan, Unisys named Joseph McGrath, 54, president and chief operating officer and George Gazerwitz, 64, as vice chairman.

Weinbach is credited with helping make Unisys less dependent on its commodity hardware business by growing its services offerings. In all, 80% of the company's revenue now comes from IT and business-process-outsourcing services such as check processing. Some observers question whether the company will be able to maintain that momentum during a leadership transition. "Change is almost never a positive at CEO levels," says John Jones, a Schwab SoundView Capital Markets analyst.

McGrath could be Unisys' next CEO. He joined the company in 1999 as VP for major accounts sales and chief marketing officer after working in executive positions at Xerox. He has also served as a VP at IT research firm Gartner. Jones says McGrath is Weinbach's "logical successor," calling him a "capable and qualified candidate for CEO." Gazerwitz previously held the title of executive VP and president for systems and technology at Unisys.

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