Harvey Najim, Sirius Chief Executive, Plans Hand-off to Joe Mertens

Harvey Najim, Sirius Computer Solutions Inc. chairman and chief executive, said that some 30 years after founding the San Antonio, TX-based solutions provider, he will hand off his chief executive duties to current president Joe Mertens while retaining his board chairman's role.

"Three years ago, I made Joe Mertens our president," said Najim. "He has done an outstanding job, especially under very tough economic conditions that also affected our business."

Najim said that he will pass on to Mertens the chief executive baton by January 2, 2012 as part of a long-standing succession plan.

"Joe has the vision, the strategy and the leadership skills to take our company to the next level," Najim said. "In addition, he has my full support and confidence," he said. "I would never turn the reins over to someone who was not my equal and even better - and that he is."

In addition to his new chief executive duties, Mertens will retain his role as company president.

"I am honored and humbled by the confidence being placed in me, and I look forward to the challenge of taking Sirius to the next level," said Mertens.

"No one can fill Harvey's shoes, but I hope to bring my own business perspective and personal style to the company," he said. "I've learned from the best, and will be working with Harvey very closely during 2011 to absorb everything I can from him."

After an earlier stint at Sirius, initially known as Star Data Systems, beginning 1984, Mertens returned to the company in May, 2002 as executive vice president. He was named Sirius' president in April, 2008.

Najim said that he will be spending much of his time outside Sirius at his Harvey E. Najim Foundation, which has contributed more than $25 million to children's charitable organizations in the San Antonio area.

"As I continue to transition into my full-time role with my Foundation, it is in the best interest of Sirius that the role of CEO be assumed by an individual who combines new ideas and fresh energy with extensive experience and a strong Sirius background," he said.

Last November, Najim was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame.

In early December, Sirius completed its acquisition of MSI Systems Integrators, a deal Najim presided over that elevates the company's pro forma annual revenue to more than $1 billion.

Najim said that his pared down role will including helping Mertens and Sirius' management team integrate MSI into the company.

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