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  1. Technology
February 23, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

E J Phillip Samper, the retired vice-chairman of Eastman Kodak Co, is now president of Sun Microsystems Computer Corp, Sun Microsystems Inc’s vaunted hardware arm, a job chief executive Scott McNealy gave up last year after the twin roles proved both too demanding personally and not constructive for the company. Since then it’s been a long fruitless search, at times resembling a knight’s quest for the Holy Grail, to find a replacement. McNealy obviously needed a guy he could bond with, whose character was above reproach, whose skill set brought something to the equation and whose appointment would immediately win the imagination of the Sun rank-and-file. After more than a year rifling through names, putting out feelers and getting turned down, he found his man practically under his nose, on his own board. Samper, now 59, was educated at Berkeley and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spent most of his career at Kodak, retiring in 1989 and functioning as a private inventor since then. McNealy, who was giddy with delight last Wednesday after Samper’s confirmation, described him as a sales and marketing type and a Fortune 30-calibre chief executive with experience in management, international business and investment. One of McNealy’s problems filling the job was the fact that he himself, still only 38, stood in the way of the president eventually becoming chief executive. Last week he said playfully that he could imagine worse things happening than Samper nosing him out of his present slot, besides he’s been working for the guy for years.

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