Dell has named airline industry veteran Donald Carty as vice chairman and chief financial officer (CFO) of the company as it undergoes accounting probes.

Dell has picked Carty to pilot the financial part of its technology business through turbulent times. He replaces James Schneider, who had previously announced plans to leave for the position of executive chairman of the board of Frontier Bancshares.

Carty has been a Dell director since 1992, and chair of its audit committee. He served as chairman of the board and chief executive of AMR, the parent of American Airlines, from 1998 to 2003. He also served as CFO of AMR and president of AMR Airline Group and American Airlines.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began a formal investigation of Dell in November into some of its accounting and financial reporting matters.

The Dell Audit Committee Carty chairs began conducting its own investigation in August 2005, after learning the SEC had begun an informal investigation of the company's revenue recognition and accounting practices for past fiscal years. Dell's internal audit revealed that the company may have misstated prior financial reports, including accruals, reserves and other balance sheet items.

The hardware vendor reported improved earnings in third quarter results on 21 November, compared to the year-ago quarter, but the announcement had to be delayed by five days because of issues surrounding the accounting investigation.