Business People

From Apple to Sun, And Now Back Again

By Andrew Pollack
The New York Times

June 16, 1989

In an unusual case of musical chairs in Silicon Valley, Joseph A. Graziano, chief financial officer at Sun Microsystems Inc., has left to take the same job at its rival, Apple Computer Inc.

More unusual is that Mr. Graziano was chief financial officer at Apple until 1985 before turning up at Sun.

Mr. Graziano's departure from Sun comes as the fast-growing maker of computer work stations expects to report its worst quarter, and possibly its first loss ever. His departure follows the resignation in April of the executive vice president, Bernard LaCroute, to pursue personal interests.

Mr. Graziano's departure is likely to raise more questions about what is happening at Sun, which has said it is suffering a temporary setback partly because of a product transition and problems with an internal data processing system. Kim Miller, a spokeswoman for the Mountain View, Calif., company, said Mr. Graziano's departure ''is definitely unrelated to what's going on here.''

At Apple, Mr. Graziano replaces Deborah A. Coleman, who took a leave of absence for medical reasons in December. Sun said Mr. Graziano's position would be filled temporarily by William J. Raduchel, vice president of corporate planning and development.

An Apple spokeswoman said Mr. Graziano was not giving interviews.

Mr. Graziano, 45 years old, a certified public accountant, was treasurer at the Rolm Corporation before joining Apple in 1981. His early 1985 departure from Apple came just as the fast-growing personal computer company was experiencing a sudden slowdown and organizational turmoil that would lead to its first-ever quarterly loss. Mr. Graziano took two years off before joining Sun.

Apple and Sun, while in different segments of the computer business, have nevertheless been rivals for the fastest-growing company in Silicon Valley. Executives have shifted from one company to the other before, although most of the flow has been from Apple to Sun because Apple was already established when Sun was just starting. Now the two companies are coming more into competition as the markets for personal computers and work stations begin to overlap.

Copyright 1989 The New York Times Company