3Com president and CEO Bruce Claflin has announced his retirement, effective as soon as a successor is found.

The retirement is "consistent with a succession plan agreed to with the 3Com Board of Directors", the company said and has an open timetable. The search has already begun however and is expected to be completed by the end of the year at the latest.

3Com chairman Eric Benhamou said that under Claflin the company had "developed a strategy to become a leading global provider of secure converged networking solutions. Moving forward, the 3Com Board intends to recruit a CEO who can build on the positive trends of the past few quarters as we continue to execute our strategy and drive 3Com toward profitable growth."

Claflin joined 3Com as president and COO in 1998, and took over as president and CEO in 2001. Over the last four years, 3Com has operated in the red, but its losses shrank from $349 million in 2004 to $195 million in 2005. Recently, it posted a loss of $11 million for its second fiscal quarter, which ended in December - compared to a $43 million loss in the previous quarter. Claflin has stated that he expects the company to be profitable by 2007.

Claflin leaves a company much changed from the one he took over from former CEO Benhamou. He was largely behind 3Com's pull-out of the large-enterprise switching and routing market in 2000. He oversaw the divestment of its carrier business CommWorks and the company's transformation into an SME and consumer networking company, with such products as broadband gear and Audrey Internet radio.