"No one has gone unscathed," Bert I. Helfinstein said from his office in Vienna last week.
"The microcomputer industry has seen a continuous shakeout, and well over 1,000 independent dealers went out of business last year, and even the middlemen were declaring bankruptcy," he added.
But Helfinstein, 52, the new president and chief executive officer of Entre Computer Centers Inc., feels certain his company will weather the industry's turbulence.
The world's largest publicly held chain of computer stores will prove to be a major long-term player in the personal-computer dealer marketplace, he said.
Helfinstein replaced Steven B. Heller as CEO less than a month ago, after Heller and cofounder James E. Edgett resigned as officers of Entre.
Heller and Edgett will remain as directors and consultants. Helfinstein said the firm's management decided, as have those of many other entrepreneurial firms, that a professional manager would be the best choice to run the company's day-to-day operations.
The company was founded in 1981 and has 250 stores in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
As a manager, Helfinstein has the credentials for a company's top post. He has served as president of six companies, including private firms and subsidiaries of large corporations.
In 1984, he joined Entre as vice president, and as president and chief operating officer of a subsidiary, Entre Computer Centers of America Inc.
Prior to that, he served as president and chief executive officer of Source Telecomputing Corp. and president of CGI Systems, a subsidiary of a French software company.
Entre will continue to targets it products to high-end users and market the more sophisticated PC applications such as computer-aided design and networks, Helfinstein said. "That goal is still on target."
But there are several changes ahead, he said. Among them, the company plans to introduce a policy that will "reduce the amount of profit the company takes from franchises due to the difficult times."
It was reported in a trade magazine that at least one franchisee would be elected to the board of directors and that franchisees would be offered stock options.
There also will be changes in foreign sales, which "haven't been doing as well as they should," he said.
Helfinstein visited stores in Europe last week and is meeting with a representative from Australia this week, but would not comment on specific plans.
For the first quarter of 1986, Entre reported that its earnings dropped to $1.53 million from $2.45 million during the same period a year ago.
At that time, Heller said the decrease was a result, among other factors, of overexpansion in the European and Australian markets.
The company is scheduled to release an earnings report tomorrow. BANKING, FINANCIAL SERVICES
The board of directors of Arlington Bank, which was founded in 1982, promoted Derek W. Riddle to vice president of real estate development and Sandra M. Rutherford to vice president and cashier. Both Riddle and Rutherford joined the bank in 1985. Riddle previously operated the real estate loan department, and Rutherford was assistant manager of the Ballston office. The bank has assets totaling $38 million. COMMUNICATIONS
The Earle Palmer Brown Cos., a marketing communications agency based in Bethesda, hired two executives from the advertising holding company Ogilvy & Mather of New York. Earle Palmer Brown named Bruce M. Odza executive vice president and general manager and Michael G. Turner vice chairman of the agency. Prior to joining the company, Odza was the managing director of Ogilvy & Mather's office in Sydney, and Turner was executive vice president of the company's Washington office.
Gannett Co. Inc., the nation's largest newspaper chain, promoted Robert T. Burns to vice president of marketing for USA Today and Christine D. Landauer to director of headquarters personnel and the corporate equal opportunity program of the Gannett Co. Burns joined the company in 1980 as manager of circulation sales and marketing and most recently served as director of marketing and administration. Landauer joined the company in 1963 and most recently served as director of personnel for Gannett Rochester Newspapers.
Graphic Communications Associates Inc., a graphic arts consulting firm in Fairfax, named Patrick J. O'Driscoll president of the company. O'Driscoll, former chief of reprographics management for the Air Force, was responsible for 26 printing plants, 132 duplicating centers and 100 micrographics facilities in his previous position.
Pyramid Video, a television production and transmission company in the District, named Indu Singh president of the company. Singh previously worked in the Washington office of Spectrum Planning Inc. as vice president of international marketing. Spectrum Planning is a telecommunications engineering firm based in Dallas. COMPUTERS
Software AG of North America Inc., a software development and marketing firm in Reston, hired Hillary Reilly as executive director of information services. Reilly previously worked for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. and was responsible for corporate information services.
United Software Security Inc., a software development and marketing firm in Vienna, named John A. Cunningham vice president of sales. Cunningham joined the company from UCCEL Express of Herndon, where he served as director of marketing and new products.
Interference Control Technologies Inc. of Gainesville, Va., named John D. M. Osburn vice president of engineering. Osburn previously worked for Martin Marietta Corp. and has 16 years' experience with TEMPEST systems. In his new position, he will supervise the company's engineering efforts and coordinate the international engineering staff. PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., an international accounting firm with 363 offices worldwide, elected the following individuals to partnerships in its Washington office: Kathy J. Calderon, partner of the audit department; Charles H. Cash, principal of the management consulting department; John A. Klaffky, partner of the management consulting department; John M. Mendonca, partner of the audit department, and Charles M. Slifko, principal of the management consulting department.
CHK Architects and Planners, a 150-member company with offices in Silver Spring and Arlington, appointed Jean M. Barnak to head its newly created interior design department. Barnak joined the company from a local interior design company, Deupi and Associates Inc., where she was senior desinger. CHK Architects and Planners expects the new division to generate more than $1 million in sales next year, a company spokesman said. The company reports approximately $10 million in sales each year.
John Naumann Strange, formerly with the office of chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, joined the tax group of the law firm of Miles & Stockbridge. Strange is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center.
Fred L. Taylor joined the aviation marketing and management consulting firm of Kurth & Co. Inc. as a director of aviation research. Taylor most recently worked as an independent consultant to KC Inc. and the Virginia Aviation Impact Study. RETAIL
Woodward & Lothrop, which operates 16 department stores in the Baltimore/Washington area, made several changes in its marketing division and named Joel Nichols divisional vice president of advertising, Jack L. Dorner divisional vice president of visual merchandising, and Roland L. Leimbach operating vice president for the visual merchandising director. INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING
Interstate Resources Inc., which recently relocated its corporate headquarters from Cincinnati to Rosslyn, named Richard L. Trueb president and chief operating officer of the company. Interstate Resources is the parent company for two manufacturing companies, Interstate Container Corp. and Interstate Paper Corp. Trueb previously served as president of Poyry-BEK, a company that provides consulting services for the pulp and paper industry. HOTEL, FOOD SERVICES
The Willard Inter-Continental Hotel named Melba Hahn corporate sales manager. Hahn joined the company from an events management firm, Washington Affairs, where she was events coordinator.
The Hyatt Regency Hotel appointed Jeffrey Klumpp sales manager of special markets. Klumpp previously worked for the national sales office of Clarion Hotel as a national sales manager.