John Paczkowski

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New Acer CEO Ousted in Ongoing Game of Musical Chairs

musical-chairsAcer just ousted its second CEO in a month.

Two weeks after tapping Jim Wong as its next chief executive officer, the PC maker on Thursday said he too will step down “in light of the company’s recent performance.” Instead, Acer founder Stan Shih, who retired from the company in 2004, will return to it as chairman and interim corporate president.

The 68-year-old Shih’s return, nine years after his retirement, is another dramatic turn in Acer’s crisis of leadership, which began earlier this month with the resignation of CEO J.T. Wang and his replacement by Wong.

That move, which followed a nasty third-quarter loss and the announcement of a middling round of layoffs, was intended to right Acer as it struggles amid the worst market for personal computers in history. But now, not a month later, both Wang and Wong are out, and power is being consolidated around Shih in what Acer describes as an effort “to boost the company’s decision-making efficiency.”

A troubling game of musical chairs for Acer, but a necessary one, it seems. The world’s No. 4 PC maker has been suffering amid declining demand for computers. According to Gartner, third-quarter worldwide PC shipments fell 8.6 percent year over year, their sixth straight quarter of decline. And Acer, once the world’s second-biggest PC vendor behind HP, has been having a harder time than most keeping its footing.

Here’s the announcement:

2013-11-21
Acer’s Board Elects Stan Shih as New Chairman and Interim Corporate President as J.T. Wang and Jim Wong Step Down

TAIPEI, TAIWAN
Acer announces that its Board of Directors has elected the company founder, Stan Shih, as Chairman and interim Corporate President with immediate effect. Shih shall serve as Acer’s Chairman until the end of his term on the Board. Chairman & CEO J.T. Wang and Corporate President Jim Wong have both stepped down in light of the company’s recent performance. The Company will hand over the Corporate Presidency to the appropriate candidate as soon as possible.

Despite their resignations, reluctantly accepted by the Board, both J.T. Wang and Jim Wong have committed to remain with Acer as advisors to ensure a smooth transition and transfer of the management team and to help the company back to stability.

In addition to the appointment of Stan Shih, the Board also resolved to relinquish the position of the CEO. Former CEO duties will be charged to the Chairman or President and this is expected to boost the company’s decision making efficiency.

Stan Shih said, “Due to the situation that now faces Acer and my personal social responsibilities, I must stand up and take the reign without salary.”

Shih continued, “I will honor and complete all the public affairs and event engagements that I have committed to, but I will also fully support Acer’s ICT device business and carry out the company transformation. In addition, George Huang who is one of my co-founding partners of Acer will join with me and the management team to lead our company at this time.”


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