Sun Micro Revamps Sales Force

The company brings aboard a new sales chief.
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Sun Microsystems

(JAVA)

is reshuffling its 17,000-member sales force, with a new sales chief and a newly created group to boost business in developing countries.

As part of the change, Don Grantham, Sun's sales chief since 2006, will leave the company.

According to a company blog by Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, Grantham is leaving to join

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

.

Grantham will be succeeded by Peter Ryan, Sun's head of sales in the Americas region, who will now oversee the company's global sales and services organization.

The changing of the guard comes a month after Sun reported

an ugly fiscal third quarter

, missing Wall Street financial estimates and reverting to a loss, after several profitable quarters.

Sun blamed a sluggish U.S. economy, which it said caused many big customers to delay orders of new server and storage systems. Sun said it will cut between 1,500 and 2,500 workers.

Like other tech firms, Sun is looking to emerging markets overseas, such as India and China, where sales of computers are growing significantly faster than in the U.S.

As it stands, the bulk of Sun's revenue is heavily dependent on so-called mature markets: In the most-recently ended quarter, sales in the U.S., Britain, Germany and Japan accounted for about 57% of Sun's overall revenue.

The new emerging markets region, to be headed by Denis Heraud, will include countries formerly folded into Sun's three sales territories: The Americas, Asia Pacific and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

The change will allow Sun to focus its resources and management to a market that Sun says is particularly well-suited to its model of network computing and open-source software.

"Last quarter alone, our BRICA

Brazil, Russia, India, China and Africa business grew in double digits -- this change is designed to accelerate that growth by adding new focus, resourcing and strong leadership," CEO Schwartz wrote Monday.

Grantham is the second high-ranking Sun executive to leave the company recently. In March,

Davd Yen, the head of Sun's chip division, decamped

to

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

. Like Yen, Grantham ranked among Sun's five highest paid executives, earning a total compensation of $4.1 million in 2007, payable in British pounds sterling.

A nine-year Sun veteran who resides in his native Britain, Grantham is entitled to a $6.2 million severance payment, according to Sun's proxy statement.

Shares of Sun were unchanged at $12.94 in extended trading Monday.