Last September 3Com's then board of directors accepted a $US2.2 billion merger agreement.

Global HQ: Marlborough, Massachusetts, US Website:

Global leader: Robert Mao, CEO

Local leader: Grant Howe, country manager, ANZ

Core activity: Hardware and switch manufacturing, IP telephony

Revenue: US$1.3 billion (FY08 ended May)

Key customers: Spotlight Stores, Acer Computers Australia, Clayton Utz, Hazelwood Power

Employees: 6,100

For networking vendor 3Com, 2008 was the year of the managerial reshuffle. In April Robert Mao was appointed CEO, taking over from Edgar Masri. 3Com also hired a new president and COO, Ronald Sege.

Mao will be based in China and Sege in the US. The move into China is integral for the company to branch out as a global brand, but so far it has not gone smoothly.

Last September 3Com’s then board of directors accepted a $US2.2 billion merger agreement. The company would be acquired by affiliates of private investment firm Bain & Associates, with a 16 per cent minority ownership going to China-based Huawei Technologies.

The merger was thwarted even before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States put the brakes on the sale, as the security division of 3Com, TippingPoint, sold into the US Department of Defence. The company is looking to divest TippingPoint and the merger is still on the table.

Aside from the postings of Sege and Mao, 3Com recently appointed Saar Gillai as senior vice president of worldwide products and solutions and hired Kathleen Cote as a seventh director.

In September 3Com issued a year-long share buy-back scheme of up to $100 million.

The company presents a more solid footing in the sustainability space, as it touts the results of independent research firm In-Stat. The research company claims that 3Com’s local area network switches are up to 60 percent more energy-efficient, or ‘green’, than competitors’ products. By deploying an industry-leading switching solution from 3Com, customers can save money — and help the environment — by using significantly less electricity to power their high-performance networks, the report stated. Michael Crawford with additional reporting from Channelworld India.

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