Handheld computer maker Handspring ( HAND) named William R. Slakey its new chief financial officer this morning. The appointment frees CEO Donna Dubinsky from taking over the role, which she was committed to do in the event the company could not find a permanent CFO by the end of the quarter. Slakey resigned from his post in the same capacity at radio frequency semiconductor company WJ Communications ( WJCI) on Monday, according to a WJ Communications statement. A quick perusal of Slakey's resume shows close ties to companies whose executives formed Handspring before the appointment. Prior to joining WJ, Slakey was the CFO of Snaptrack, a Qualcomm ( QCOM) company that designed GPS wireless tracking systems. He also served in a senior controller position at 3COM's ( COMS) Palm Computing division, before the spinoff. Qualcomm invested about $10 million for 1.8 million shares of Handspring in the December quarter last year. Former Handspring CFO Ben Whitney left in June, after the company reported on the March quarter, one of its worst. It missed consensus estimates, with revenue that slipped 15% sequentially and 52% year over year to $59.7 million.
Slakey has his work cut out for him. The company is doing everything it can to put the disappointing March quarter behind it and is engaged in a turnaround amid a shrinking market and waning interest in the handheld sector. In the June quarter the company largely met its guidance, paring down net losses to $15.4 million and reporting revenue of $49 million. It also took measures to pare down expenses, including eliminating plans for a costly office move. But with its launch of its newest Treo Communicator, the Treo 300 that operates on Sprint PCS' ( PCS) CDMA 1xRTT wireless data network, the company is hoping the partnership will help boost sales of its devices to Sprint's 16 million subscribers. Handspring expects to turn a profit in the December quarter this year.