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Replacing a former IBMer – Vittorio Cassoni – with an accountant – Robert Kavner – at the head of AT&T Data Systems (CI No 916) is being viewed with deep pessimism in New York, where a former unidentified – AT&T executive contacted by the Wall Street Journal described Cassoni’s return to Olivetti as absolutely the kiss of death for the Data Systems business, adding that if Cassoni had truly believed AT&T would become a major computer company, he wouldn’t be leaving, adding My guess is Vittorio could see this wasn’t very likely ever to be turned around as a business; he saw the appointment of an accountant – from Coopers & Lybrand – as a signal that AT&T would gradually wind down the computer business.

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