Dell Cambridge HPCS lab

Dell today said its top mobile executive, Ron Garriques, is leaving the firm as part of an organisational change integrating the company's mobile unit into its core operating structure.

The move came to light yesterday in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, which indicated that Garriques will leave Dell on January 28, and then serve as a consultant to the firm through the end of 2011.

News of his departure along with recent problems with new Dell Venue Pro smartphone running Windows Phone 7 have provoked concern about Dell's ongoing commitment to the mobile market.

Dell's hiring of Garriques in 2007 from Motorola was seen as a renewed commitment by the company to building mobile products. While some fear the departure of Garriques could indicate retrenchment by Dell in the mobile business, a spokesman indicated otherwise.

"The combination of the company's mobility group [headed by Garriques] into our business units, Large Enterprise, Consumer/Small Medium Business and the Public Sector, is recognition that the opportunities in mobile have quickly grown beyond consumer-focused initiatives for Dell," the spokesman said.

The spokesman didn't offer specifics about how Dell will integrate the Communications Services Group into the other groups. "Aligning the mobility organisation with the company's broader global capabilities and structure is a commitment to a bigger and more integrated mobility focus across all segments at Dell," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said Garriques would help manage the transition through the end of the year with consulting services through end of 2011.

After the Venue Pro went on sale November 8, Dell had to offer replacement phones to buyers who had problems with Wi-Fi and batteries labeled as samples. Once the problems surfaced, Dell quickly posted a note on its website announcing that the phone was not available. A separate blog post indicated that the smartphone will now be available by the end of this week.

However, the Venue Pro was not available for sale as of Thursday. The spokesman said Dell would not make any formal announcements about Venue Pro availability "at this time."