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Diebold CEO resigns after reports of fraud litigation, internal woes

John Byrne

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The chief executive officer of electronic voting company Diebold who once famously declared that he would "deliver" Ohio for President Bush has resigned effective immediately, RAW STORY has learned.

"The board of directors and Wally [O'Dell] mutually agreed that his decision to resign at this time for personal reasons was in the best interest of all parties," the company's new chairman said in a statement.

O'Dell's resignation comes just days after reports from BradBlog.com that the company was facing imminent securities fraud litigation surrounding charges of insider trading. It also comes on the heels of a RAW STORY interview with a Diebold insider, who raised new allegations of technical woes inside the company, as well as concerns that Diebold may have mishandled elections in Georgia and Ohio.

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Diebold's chief operating officer Thomas Swidarski will take O'Dell's place.

"This has been a very challenging year for the company," Swidarski said. "We are beginning to make progress to improve some of our performance issues, reduce our cost structure by addressing inefficiencies in our manufacturing supply chain and software development processes, and instill price discipline throughout the company."

In a story last week, RAW STORY recounted allegations made by a Diebold insider who said he/she had become disillusioned after witnessing repeated efforts by the firm to evade meeting legal requirements or implementing appropriate security measures, and who alleged that Diebold had put corporate interests ahead of the interests of voters.

“I’ve absolutely had it with the dishonesty,” the insider said. Blasting Wally O’Dell, the current president of Diebold, the whistleblower went on to explain behind-the-scenes tactics of the company and its officers.

“There’s a lot of pressure in the corporation to make the numbers: `We don’t tell you how to do it, but do it.’ [O’Dell is] probably the number one culprit putting pressure on people,” the source said.

The whistleblower also questioned whether the company or its subsidiaries had mishandled a 2002 Georgia gubernatorial election and voting in Ohio this year.

Diebold spokesman David Bear rebutted the charges. “Diebold has a sterling reputation in the industry," Bear said. "It’s a 144-year-old company and is considered one of the best companies in the industry."

Originally published on Monday December 12, 2005

 


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