The new president of Hartco Corp. knew a lot about his new company before he took the job.

Patrick Waid is a long-time friend of the company chairman, was a former vice-president of sales at Compaq Canada and a management consultant to many information technology firms.

However, he

isn’t rushing to overhaul the Montreal-based IT conglomerate.

“”I’m a big believer in the planning process,”” Waid said in an interview after his first week on the job.

“”We need to objectively assess the overall marketplace and do an excellent job anticipating how it is likely to evolve to clearly define the job we are likely to play.””

“”At first blush, speaking of the benefit of only five day’s experience, there’s likely to be an opportunity a slightly more structured or disciplined approach to business planning as well as to what I will refer to as the process of making continuous improvements.””

He added he’s impressed with the “”entrepreneurial spirit”” of the company’s employees. “”The organization has a can-do attitude that I have not had the pleasure of witnessing in many environments.””

The appointment of the 42-year-old Waid ends an awkward situation for executive chairman Harry Hart, who had to take over as chief executive officer and president after the controversial departure of Anthony Molluso in November.

Molluso, who was CEO and president for only 13 months, is suing Hartco in Quebec Superior Court, alleging he was dismissed unlawfully.

Waid is taking over as president and chief operating officer, with day-to-day responsibilities for Hartco, which includes franchised solutions integrator Metafore Corp., franchise retailers Compucentre, CompuSmart and Telephone Booth, and online reseller ZingPC.com.

However, Hart remains CEO.

Waid said he knew nothing about the reasons for Molluso’s departure.

But, he added, “”I would not have taken this role if my sense was I would be operating under the leadership of an individual who would constrain my ability to make the impact that I would like to make,”” he said.

Hartco reported earnings of $9. 4 million on sales of $633 million for the fiscal year ending Feb. 1.

He’s known Hart for 17 years, beginning back when Waid had responsibility for Quebec and the Atlantic provinces for Compaq.

“”We’ve always enjoyed a relationship of trust and mutual respect, even following my departure from Compaq.

“”Over the years Harry and I have spoken on a number of issues, and he’s at times explored my willingness to entertain some kind of role at Hartco.

But “”the timing was never right.””

But when Hart again asked recently, Waid changed his mind. “”The combination of challenges and significant opportunities that Hartco faces combined with the current state of the IT sector make this an extremely compelling opportunity, and one that I cannot shy away from.””

“”Hartco needs to excel at recognizing and anticipating customers’ most fundamental needs and wants in information technology, and then develop a business model that will allow the company to differentiate itself from its competitors through a compelling value proposition.””

After rising to become Compaq Canada’s vice-president of sales, and then VP of operations, he left the company in December, 1999 to become a management consultant. His clients included Microsoft Canada.

Born and raised in Montreal, Waid has been living in Toronto for the past 12 years with his wife and three daughters. They will move to Montreal, where Hartco is based, by September.

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