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The US operations of Commodore International Ltd have been plunged into a crisis that threatens the company’s financial recovery after the board suspended president and chief executive Thomas Rattigan and fired three other top officers of the company. Rattigan, hired two years ago from Pepsico by chairman and controlling 19.5% shareholder Irving Gould to be president, and given the additional post of chief executive a year ago with a five-year contract worth at least $8.4m over its term, is widely credited with the cost-cutting measures that returned the company to profitability after five straight quarters of losses. Rattigan, suspended on Thursday, says he was frogmarched off the premises by security guards on Monday, and resigned under duress. On Tuesday, he launched a law suit in New York against Commodore seeking more than $9m in damages. His suspension was accompanied by the dismissal of Commodore’s treasurer and controller, its North America general manager, and its computer services director. Despite the attractions of the Amiga home computer, Commodore’s US business had been seriously handicapped by a weak distribution network, and the violent palace revolution will do nothing to increase the confidence of would-be resellers of the Amiga.

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