Eckhard Pfeiffer (born August 20, 1941 in Lauban, Germany [now LublaÅ, Poland]) is a businessman of German ancestry, who served as President and CEO of Compaq from 1991 to 1999. He was named as one of TIME's "Cyber Elite Top 50" for 1998.
His father was a prisoner of war during World War II, while Pfeiffer and his mother fled the advancing Soviet troops.
He received his MBA from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
He joined Compaq from Texas Instruments, and established operations from scratch in both Europe and Asia. Pfeiffer was given US$20,000 to start up Compaq Europe. He started up Compaq's first overseas office in Munich in 1984. By 1990, Compaq Europe was a $2 billion business, and foreign sales contributed 54 percent of Compaq's revenues.
When Michael S. Swavely retired as president of Compaq's North American division on July 12, 1991, Pfeiffer was named to succeed him. Pfeiffer also received the title of Chief Operating Officer.
Pfeiffer became President and CEO of Compaq in 1991, as a result of a boardroom coup led by board chairman Ben Rosen that forced co-founder Rod Canion to resign as President and CEO. Canion had allowed competitors such as Dell Computer, AST Research, and Gateway 2000 to undercut Compaq with cheaper offerings, that led to a $71 million loss for that quarter, Compaq's first loss as a company. An analyst stated that "Compaq has made a lot of tactical errors in the last year and a half. They were trend-setters; now they are lagging".