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Yoga Korunta

Life & Politics

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Location: United States

One learns, as nothing endures but change.

13 December 2005

Diebold's Bush-backer Boss Departs

Diebold's Bush-backer boss departs

Alison Grant
Plain Dealer Reporter

Diebold Inc. said Monday that its chairman and chief executive, Walden O'Dell, has resigned from the company and its board "for personal reasons."

The country's second-largest maker of automated teller machines named Thomas Swidarski, president and chief operating officer, as chief executive. He will retain his previous roles and also will become a director, Diebold said.

John Lauer, on Diebold's board since 1992, will take over as non-executive chairman.

"The board of directors and Wally mutually agreed that his decision to resign at this time for personal reasons was in the best interest of all parties," Lauer said in a written statement.

O'Dell, who joined Diebold in 1999 as chief executive, could not be reached at his home.

He had presided over a rocky year at Diebold. The company had several high level shakeups, with senior executives departing in recent months. Its stock price plummeted from an all-time high in early April of almost $58 a share to less that $38 on Monday.

O'Dell, a Republican, was plagued by political fallout from a quote in a fund-raising letter in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes" to George W. Bush in the 2004 election.

O'Dell said later that the statement was one of the worst missteps of his career.

A Diebold spokesman declined to elaborate on his abrupt departure except to say that it was unrelated to a report last week that Diebold executives contributed to Republican campaigns in August, just two months after the company banned political giving by its top executives. The policy did not bar these executives from donating, but a company spokesman expressed regret over the contributions.

More at www.plaind.com

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