updated 07:03 pm EST, Mon December 23, 2013
Acer reshuffles with Chen at the top
Acer on Monday announced the appointment of Jason Chen to the role of Corporate President and CEO, replacing J.T. Wang, who left the company in November in the face of plummeting PC sales for the company. Chen steps into the leadership position from his old role as senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, and he will be charged with reversing the manufacturer's sinking fortunes as it struggles to adapt to a new computing paradigm. He will take over the CEO role beginning January 1, 2014.
"Jason is an excellent manager with extensive management experience and proven execution capability," said Acer Chairman Stan Shih. "Acer's search committee met with him on several occasions for in-depth dialogue and exchange of views. We consider him to be the ideal executive to lead our transformation with his wealth of new thinking, international perspective, and willingness to face this challenge."
Prior to joining Acer, Chen held leadership positions at TSMC, and he has been the SVP of marketing and sales since 2008. Before that, he worked at Intel from 1991 to 2005 in a variety of sales and marketing positions, having served at IBM before that.
Chen will be the PC maker's third CEO in just about as many years. Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci resigned in 2011 amid disputes with the board over the direction of the company. Lanci and the board were unable to come to terms on operational scale, desired growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and resource allocation, among other factors.
Lanci was succeeded by J.T. Wang, who became noted for his outspokenness on corporate and consumer matters. Prior to his appointment, Wang essentially called Apple's iPad a fad, saying that consumers would "return to their senses" and move back toward traditional computing form factors once the novelty of Apple's tablet had worn off. He also last year warned Microsoft to think twice about entering the computer manufacturing business with its Surface devices. Microsoft's move, Wang said, would possibly have the consequence of alienating the Redmond software giant from its PC manufacturing partners.
During Wang's tenure, the iPad did not fizzle out, and Acer's sales have plummeted of recent, as consumers are increasingly opting for smartphones and tablets to satisfy their computing needs. Acer posted a $446 million loss for the third quarter, and the company announced plans to cut seven percent of its staff in order to save $100 million in annual operating expenses.
Acer's shipments dropped 22.6 percent year-over-year for the last quarter, due in large part to a steep decline in the netbook market. Acer had based much of its business on those low-cost, low-power devices, but tablets have proven more capable in addressing consumer needs. Acer's own efforts at tablets have had nowhere near the success of its competitors, and the company is the only one of the top five tablet manufacturers that has seen its shipment numbers drop in recent quarters.