Acer CEO Resigns as Tablets Threaten Market
By LORRAINE LUK
TAIPEI—Taiwanese computer maker Acer Corp. said Chief Executive Gianfranco Lanci resigned Thursday as part of the company's efforts to reorganize its operations to tackle the rising challenge from Apple Inc.'s iPad tablet.
The world's No. 2 PC maker by shipments said Chairman J.T. Wang will succeed Mr. Lanci as chief executive and hopes to find a permanent successor for the president position by the end of April. Mr. Lanci couldn't be reached for comment, and Acer said his contact information wasn't available.
Mr. Lanci resigned because he held different views from the majority of Acer's board members and couldn't reach an agreement with other members on various issues, Mr. Wang said. "They placed different levels of importance on scale, growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and on resource allocation and methods of implementation," he said.
Mr. Lanci, 57 years old, was a rare foreigner in a top position in Taiwan's technology industry. A longtime executive at Texas Instruments Inc., he joined Acer in 1997 when the company bought TI's portable-PC business and was promoted to head Acer's European operations in 2000. He took over as CEO in 2004 from Mr. Wang and oversaw the acquisition of U.S. computer maker Gateway Inc. in 2007.
Analysts said the departure of Mr. Lanci, who also stepped down as president, will affect Acer's operations in the short term, as he was the main driver of Acer's turnaround over the last 10 years and maintained the company's relationship with major retail distributors globally. Mr. Wang said Thursday that Acer may need to adjust its full-year earnings guidance after finalizing its new business structure.
The management change comes after Acer revised its first-quarter earnings forecast downward last week amid increasing concerns about sluggish demand for notebook PCs globally. Apple's popular iPad is beginning to eat into the notebook and netbook markets, in which Acer has strong positions.
"We have to change our business strategy as the PC industry landscape has changed a lot with the rise of tablets and multiple PC operating systems," said Mr. Wang.
Mr. Wang said the company's top management executives have pledged to remain at Acer after Mr. Lanci's resignation.
Mr. Wang said Acer aims to become the leader in the mobile Internet device market, which includes notebooks, netbooks, smartphones and tablets. He also said the company will strive to expand its presence in the fast-growing smartphone and tablet market. Acer aims to ship five million to seven million tablets this year, he said.
Acer—the world's second-largest PC maker by shipments after Hewlett-Packard Co., according to research firm Gartner—said last week its first-quarter revenue would likely drop 10% from the fourth quarter due to weak PC demand in western Europe and the U.S., just weeks after it said it was maintaining its goal of increasing first-quarter revenue and shipments by 3% from the previous quarter.
The company's shares have fallen 18% since Acer issued its revised forecast Friday after the stock market's close.
Analysts said investors are likely to react negatively to the news, which was released after the close of trading Thursaday, although the company's plan to buy back 2% of its issued shares may lend some support.
"The quick takeaway is pointing fingers and making a scapegoat out of Lanci, blaming the downward revision of sales guidance on him. We expect more short-term volatility to the share price as [Acer's] management tries to formulate a new strategy," Deutsche Bank said in a note to clients.
2011年04月01日 06:20 AM
宏碁CEO兰奇因战略分歧辞职 Chief executive of Taiwan’s Acer resigns
The chief executive of Acer has resigned amid strategic differences with his board arising from struggles of the Taiwanese computer maker to cope with the rapid shift by consumers towards smartphones and tablets.
The resignation of Gianfranco Lanci, who was also Acer’s global president, on Thursday came after Asia’s biggest PC group by sales said last week that first-quarter results would be worse than expected, the second straight quarter that it would miss guidance.
Acer’s shares have fallen 18 per cent since it issued the revised guidance last Friday.
The decline of Acer, whose core business is selling notebooks and netbooks to consumers in Europe and the US, over the past few months has left it struggling to maintain its global number two spot against Dell.
In a statement, Acer said Mr Lanci and the board had disagreed on the company’s direction and that they were unable to resolve those differences over several months’ discussion.
The company added that the board and Mr Lanci “placed different levels of importance on scale, growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and on resource allocation and methods of implementation”.
J.T. Wang, Acer’s chairman, will take over as chief executive, with immediate effect. Mr Wang said he expected to announce a new global president by the end of April.
Acer’s poor results over the past six months had been the trigger for Mr Lanci’s departure, Mr Wang said.