Dell's Ron Garriques, Who Oversaw Streak, Smartphone Development, Is Leaving

Dell's Ron Garriques, who helped the company court consumers with devices such as the Streak tablet and smartphones, is leaving - with $1.4 million in severance.

Ron Garriques, president of Dell's communication solutions group and the executive behind mobile consumer products such as the Dell Streak, will be leaving the company following a restructuring that has eliminated his group.

Garriques will stay on through Jan. 28, 2011, and then serve as a consultant through the rest of the year, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Garriques will receive a $1.44 million severance payment, an incentive plan payment of $378,000 and, for his consulting services, two lump-sum payments of $3.15 million on or before Feb. 28 and Dec. 31.

Garriques' group was eliminated, a Dell spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal, because smartphones and tablets have "grown to be more than a consumer-focused initiative" and folding the devices into other units will help the company sell more of them. The Associated Press reports that the new groups are large enterprises, public, small and medium business, and consumer.

Garriques was recruited to Dell in 2007 from Motorola, where he oversaw its successful cell phone division. During Garriques' tenure, Dell worked to revamp its consumer offerings and identity, first with the Adamo-a thin and lovely notebook with which it (not so successfully) worked to disrupt "perceptions of what personal computing is today," according to a statement- and later with smartphones.

After U.S. carriers failed to be impressed by Dell's initial designs, the PC maker struck deals with carriers in Brazil and China and released its first smartphones abroad, before eventually getting AT&T to sign on for a version of its Android-running Mini 3.

Since then Dell has also launched the Streak, a device with a 5-inch (on the diagonal) display, which early reviewers found a bit awkward, as it was overly big for a smartphone but a touch small for a tablet. More recently, Dell launched the Venue Pro, a smartphone geared for enterprise users running Windows Phone 7. That launch, too, was not without its glitches, as some handsets shipped with batteries labeled "Engineering Samples" and others had difficulty connecting to protected WiFi networks.

In an example of the overlap between Dell's mobile device initiatives and its enterprise efforts, it recently announced that it will replace its employees' BlackBerry handsets with Dell smartphones. Research In Motion dismissed the announcement as a publicity stunt, and one analyst told eWEEK that, as Windows Phone 7 seeks to appeal to both consumers and enterprise users, it's something of a "hybrid," and so the professional advantage goes to RIM.

Dell will be moving the marketing for its tablets and smartphones to its business group, while development of next-generation products will be led by John Thode but under the guidance of Jeff Clarke, the Associated Press reported. Clarke is currently Dell's vice chairman of operations and technology.

Dell will announce the financial results of its third quarter Nov. 18. During its second quarter, its consumer unit reported revenue of $2.9 billion, which was down from $3.2 billion the quarter before and flat year over year.