Electronic Data Systems Corp. may be hard pressed in the new year to match its recent spate of outsourcing deals.

Gary Fernandes, vice chairman and second in command, said he will retire by yearend. In August, Les Aberthal, chairman and chief executive officer, said he will leave after a successor is named. And EDS has yet to find one for its chief financial officer, who left in March.

"We are becoming increasingly concerned that the new-contract-signing effort may suffer," said Karl Keirstead, an analyst at Lehman Brothers.

EDS signed $16 billion of data processing contracts in 1997 and $9.3 billion in the first three quarters of this year.

Mr. Fernandes, a 30-year veteran of the Plano, Tex., company, has been "very involved" in big signings, including the 1997 information technology contract with Commonwealth Bank of Australia for 10 years and $3.8 billion, Mr. Keirstead said.

He expects further departures, but Diane Coffman, a spokeswoman for EDS, said those announced so far have had "no bearing" on EDS' ability to land new deals. "We are in solid financial condition, making steady progress on resolving some operational things," she said.

EDS has suffered a string of disappointing quarters since being spun off from General Motors Corp. in 1996. Last month it was downgraded by Salomon Smith Barney's Richard K. Weingarten, who sees another struggle to meet earnings expectations for the current quarter.

The company was trading early Friday at $38.75, down 81.75 cents for the week.

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