Business People

Encore Co-founder Quits Finance Post

By Kenneth N. Gilpin and Todd S. Purdum
The New York Times

September 26, 1985

The Encore Computer Corporation, a start-up company that has had trouble bringing its new super-minicomputer to market, said yesterday that Henry Burkhardt 3d, a co-founder, had resigned as senior vice president, finance and operations, citing ''differences in operating style.''

The company said Kenneth G. Fisher, also a co-founder, and currently chairman, president and chief executive officer, would assume Mr. Burkhardt's duties on a temporary basis. The company also said it is ''in discussions'' with the third co-founder, C. Gordon Bell, vice chairman, technology, concerning ''the nature of his relations with the company.''

Analysts said the personnel difficulties would seriously compound the problems at Encore, which was founded two years ago and has not yet signed any major customers for its flagship product - a super-minicomputer called Multimax.

''I think they're going to have a tough time,'' said Stephen K. Smith, an analyst with Paine Webber.

Encore's three founders have all had successful careers in the computer industry, and their backgrounds had raised high hopes for the company, which went public in an initial offering of about $25 million earlier this year. Mr. Fisher, 54 years old, is a former president of Prime Computer Inc., Mr. Bell, 51, was chief technical officer of the Digital Equipment Corporation, and Mr. Burkhardt, 40, was a co-founder of Data General.

But Mr. Fisher, in a telephone interview, said he and Mr. Burkhardt had gradually come to differ over how to run the business.

''Unfortunately, we had no way of knowing that we'd reach a point where we just couldn't accommodate one another's views for various aspects of the business,'' he said.

Mr. Burkhardt, who also resigned as a director, could not be reached for comment at either his home or office.

Mr. Bell, who has been the chief architect of the Multimax, also could not be reached regarding his plans. Mr. Fisher said the company and Mr. Bell were discussing what role he would play now that the basic design on the product was completed.

''The question is where his talents fit in now,'' said Mr. Fisher, who added that the situation with Mr. Bell was unrelated to Mr. Burkhadt and that he did not expect Mr. Bell to leave the company.

For the nine months ending in July, Encore posted a net loss of $14.6 million on sales of $381,240, compared with a loss of $3.8 million on sales of $2 million in the comparable period a year earlier.

Copyright 1985 The New York Times Company