- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SEATTLE (AP) - Dell Inc. said Wednesday that the president of the group responsible for its first forays into smart phones and consumer tablet PCs is leaving the company.

According to Dell, Ronald Garriques decided to leave after a reorganization that folded marketing responsibilities for phones and tablets into its primary business groups _ large enterprises, public, small and medium business, and consumer. The reorganization eliminated Garriques‘ communications solutions group.

Garriques was recruited to Dell in February 2007 after overseeing tremendous growth in Motorola Inc.’s cell phone unit. His tenure coincided with a tough time for the global economy and for Dell, as the company began a long turnaround that included slashing costs and revamping its just-in-time manufacturing model.

On his watch, the PC maker revamped its consumer strategy to focus more on design. The group launched a high-end, ultra-thin laptop under the Adamo brand, but it’s unclear the $2,000 machine did much to develop what Dell at the time called “brand lust.” Currently, Dell has one Adamo laptop, which costs about $1,000.

The executive’s mobile group developed Dell’s first smart phone, which went on sale late last year in China and Brazil and came to the U.S. as the Aero in August. The Aero runs Google Inc.’s Android operating system, and costs $99, the low end for Android phones.

Under Garriques, Dell also made its first move into the modern tablet space with the Streak, which went on sale in August. It has a 5-inch (13-centimeter) screen and runs a version of Android; it can also make phone calls on AT&T’s network. The Streak got a chilly reception, with critics saying the device was too awkward to use as a giant phone and too small to use as a computer.

Dell is moving marketing for current tablets and smart phones into the business groups. Development of the next generation of such products will still be led by John Thode, but will be moved to the purview of Jeff Clarke. Clarke is responsible for Dell’s manufacturing, procurement and supply chain and PC engineering, design and development.

Garriques will stay on through the fiscal year, which ends Jan. 31, 2011, and remain a consultant through 2011. According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Dell will pay Garriques $1.44 million in severance and $378,000 as an incentive bonus payout for the current fiscal year.

Dell will pay Garriques two lump sums of about $3.2 million to compensate him for consulting services throughout the year, one by the end of February 2011 and one by the end of December 2011.

Before leading the mobile products effort at Dell, Garriques was president of the Round Rock, Texas-based company’s consumer PC group. Prior to Dell, he ran Motorola Inc.’s mobile devices division.