Acer ditches CEO role amid top exec reshuffle

Acer ditches CEO role amid top exec reshuffle

Summary: Acer is facing the future without a CEO – a move it says is necessary to improve decision making in the company.

TOPICS: Hardware, Tablets, PCs

The board of Taiwanese PC maker Acer has elected the company's founder Stan Shih as the company's new chairman as it embarks on the restructuring plan it announced earlier this month.

Acer's chairman and CEO, JT Wang, and corporate president Jim Wong have stepped down from their roles following Acer's gloomy third quarter, in which it reported a worse than expected $442m loss.

Following its Q3 results earlier this month, Wang handed in his resignation, with Wong set to succeed him as CEO next year.

However, Acer has now decided to remove the chief executive role altogether, with duties transferred to chairman or president in the hope of improving the company's decision-making efficiency.

"Due to the situation that now faces Acer and my personal social responsibilities, I must stand up and take the reign without salary," Shih said in a statement.

Acer plans to reduce its worldwide workforce by seven percent in a bid to save $100m a year. It's also shedding a number of products to improve margins, but expects to see shipments of notebooks, tablets, and Chromebooks fall by 10 percent in Q4 compared with Q3.

Acer blamed its Q3 operating losses on "the gross margin impact of gearing up for the Windows 8.1 sell in and the related management of inventory", though the company has failed to deliver positive results since 2011.

The company is just one of the PC vendors whose sales have been hit by the switch to more mobile devices. In tablets, although it has seen shipments rise, it's also seen its market share squeezed by Apple's iPad and Samsung's tablet range.

Acer's Wang has previously said that tablets are no substitute for PCs and has blamed declining interest in the form factor on Windows failure to generate consumer interest of late.

The company has held back from delivering a Windows RT tablet so far, concerned that the OS is not popular enough to build hardware for, and is looking to non-Windows devices, such as its Chromebooks and Android tablets, to generate a greater share of its revenue in future.

Further reading

Topics: Hardware, Tablets, PCs

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Acer made its bed

    Although Windows 8 is partly to blame for PC makers woes. Acer has done nothing to help its own cause. Flooding market with models, defying Windows 8 by embracing Chromebook's which really do nothing for profits. Then having a internal fight over direction. Two things I would do, first dump Gateway as they don't need more mirrored PC models. Second is reduce your overall model numbers. PC demand has shrunk and even when world economies improve the overall PC market is slowing.
    • Acer needs to blame Acer, not anyone else.

      There are very good reasons Acer isn't doing well. From their cheap builds to their poor design decisions to rushing garbage to market in an effort to be first.

      The Iconia W3 screen was inexcusable and that is just one problem from that tablet. The W510 was also rushed and poorly designed. Even their Android tablets are well below the competitions offerings.

      Windows8 doesn't seem to be a problem for some companies like Asus and Lenovo. Makes sense as both of those companies really embraced what Windows8 was trying to do and made some very smart design decision (aside from WindowsRT).

      The Yoga, Twist, Thinkpad2, Vivobook x202, Transformer T100, etc.

      Acer makes cheap products, but they no longer have a price advantage over their competition and the competition is making better devices.

      It is no surprise why Acer is doing poorly.
  • Stop building silly products

    Acer should have gone full steam with Windows instead of manufacturing crappy android tablets and phones and not to mention Chromebooks.

    Windows 8.1 8 inch tablets are selling like hot cakes. Acer was there first, but the product was rubbish.

    Design few models but attractive ones. There is no point in wasting money developing twin screen laptops or other funny looking ones.
  • Yup, BlackBerry (formerly RIM) should have gone with Android


    HTC, another Open Handset Alliance (OHA) member, is also having a bit of financial trouble at the moment. And Sony and Ericsson, both OHA members as well as members of the RockStar consortium, believe that they can make more money suing Google with Nortel's patents than they can manufacturing Android-based smartphones.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Someone is always in charge

    Acer may have abolished the CEO title (which is of fairly recent origin anyway), but all it really means is that the chairman is now in charge.

    Now if only we could convince a major corporation to abolish all of the silly CXO titles, and go back to old fashioned ones like "President", "Treasurer", "Comptroller", "Director of Marketing", "Director of Computing", etc.
    John L. Ries
    • Totally Agree...

      If the CIO moves into the big office in the penthouse and starts exerting corporate-wide authority, he IS the CEO.
  • Another Windows 8 casualty...

    ... sad when it can affect such a monolithic company.