Lenovo founder steps down as president

Lenovo founder steps down as president

Summary: Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi resigns as the president of its parent company, Legend Holdings.

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TOPICS: Lenovo
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Liu Chuanzhi, founder of Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo, has stepped down as the president of its parent company, Legend Holdings.

The company announced the news midday Monday.

Liu will remain chairman of the company. He will be succeeded in his old role by Zhu Linan, a member of the company's executive committee and a former executive vice president.

It's the latest step for the 68-year-old Liu, who stepped down as Lenovo's chairman late last year to focus on his role at Legend. At the time, he was reported to shift his focus to accelerating Legend's growth, building its core operating assets and drive it toward an initial public offering between 2014 and 2016. Aside from Lenovo, Legend's major subsidiaries include Legend Capital, Raycom (real estate) and Hony Capital, and the company's holdings span the IT, real estate, consumer services, chemical and agriculture industries.

Lenovo is China's largest PC maker and the world's second-largest. The company has met its outsized ambition with growth that allowed it to challenge Hewlett-Packard, once its inspiration.

The Economist detailed his work in 2001:

Legend was triumphing over its competitors. It had lower costs than the foreigners, but its biggest advantage lay in its distribution network. Mr Liu used his ties to China’s state-owned enterprises to sell them computers, and dispatched armies of retail staff throughout China to teach first-timers how to click a mouse. He could not match the Americans in R&D spending, but he made up for this in local touch. Legend, for instance, pioneered a new keyboard that made it easier to write Chinese characters. In 1997, Legend became China’s top-selling brand.

As China's electronics manufacturing fortunes have grown, so have Lenovo's. But the company -- like HP -- is still working to transition from a hardware provider to a services provider.

As for Zhu, the man started in IT with Lenovo proper before establishing Legend Capital, taking Western approaches and adapting them to Legend's primary market. He's got the right experience; the question is why now.

Topic: Lenovo

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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19 comments
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  • IBM connection

    Wasn't there an IBM connection with Lenovo? If I remember rightly, the Chinese took over the failing IBM PC division years ago. If that's correct, that might have been worth mentioning in your article...
    Jack M. den Haan
    • Re: IBM

      I'd have given you +2 if it let me!
      briank2
    • You are correct

      IBM outsourced to them a while ago and then sold them the business, along with the think pad name, so you think you are getting an IBM. Slick.
      Realist2199
      • IBM name

        I have a ThinkPad T410 with a Core I5 and my wife has had her Lenovo 3000-N200 for 5 years, never had a problem with either. They kept the IBM quality on the ThinkPads and her economy model has also been good. There are all kinds of torture tests on You Tube for these Lenovo ThinklPad T series laptops. And they have the best laptop keyboard going. It's what they're known for. My Thinkpad looks like a thinner version of what they were selling 10 years ago. They don't change these things because there would be a massive revolt among the ThinkPad crowd.
        j-mccurdy
    • IBM Outsourcing not failing

      The IBM division PC wasn't failing but they were finding it too difficult to keep up their standards in a world where the components were constantly being sourced from the cheapest manufacturers. All of our Compaqs, Dells, HPs, Sonys etc, have been plagued by problems but we still have all of our functioning IBMs. We're getting rid of them because they're old, not because they're broken.

      They don't build PCs and Laptops like IBMs anymore... I can clearly remember watching employees toss their thinkpads (literally) into the backs of flatbed trucks before driving into the field. Those things just kept on working.
      gavin.bollard
    • Lenovo<>IBM deal was very shrewd IMO

      I have several Lenovo products as well as pre-Lenovo IBMs. While not perfect they have held up better than any other brand I have owned. This is especially true of the Thinkpads I have owned. I carry them around almost every day including long trips and they are the only brand that holds up to such use, at least for me.
      IBM selling the PC division to Lenovo kept the IBM quaility in my experience, plus it was not a sell it and walk away deal. There is some shared ownership (I don't know the details). AFAIK what this means is that IBM minis and mainframes are given govt purchase preference in China because Lenovo can market them as a "domestic" brand. As I understand it, this means IBM has a leg up for selling into banks, stores, etc in China. How huge is that market? This is one reason IBM has done well even in the current economy. That, and long-term service contracts with Fortune 1000 companies. I was an engineer for IBM in the 80s and am a current stockholder. IBM impressed me then and now with good products and fair treatment of employees and customers.
      bboyes9
  • yes, but you will only buy 1

    they are very short on quality in my experience.
    Realist2199
    • I too Would Be Careful About the Quality

      I recently purchased a Lenovo Think Pad tablet and it failed within the first 24 hours (about 2 hours use). I returned it for credit.
      wwgorman
  • I disagree abou the quality

    Granted we are a small company with limited numbers of computers, but we've been very happy with the Lenovo desktop and laptop workstations that we've bought in the past couple of years.
    jsmithaaa5
    • He probably has no experience with them.

      NT
      j-mccurdy
  • Declining quality

    I used to love Lenovo hardware (still do to a point --- I have 9 of them), but their service and quality has declined significantly in the last few years. I will spare most of the details here, but my last interaction with "Tech Support" referred me to "Parts" and "Parts" referred me back to "Tech Support". This went on back and forth for two days. I finally got tired of the run-around and told the guy on the phone, "so, what you are really telling me is that I need to take my business to Dell or HP ... " to which he replied, "well, that is an option for you sir". So, there you go ...

    I will probably not buy another Lenovo, even though I still believe they have a better product.
    jnk_zdnet
    • Lenovo is worth it

      Lenovo....our company bought a few. I am actually typing this on a Lenovo. They are not worth the money. None of them. I have retired most of them, and that after less than 1 year. This one I work on gives problems every single day. And it has done so almost from day 1. Same goes for a batch of 8 we bought thinking we could get them deliverd quickly. From the 8th, 1 did not work from the get-go. Then it was replaced, only to be followed by a few more. I truthfully stopped bugging my supplier and just decided to use other (BETTER) computers, like Acer and e-machines. Yes, they are much better than these 'supposedly' good brands. By the way: the bad Lenovo machines are not due to a bad 'batch', unless all batches are considered bad! LOL.
      Our company will definitely not be buying Lenovo computers anymore.
      ba943
  • Lenovo notebook

    Got a T61 doorstop myself. Until the vid dies a great machine which I put through hell. Sadly, the NVS140M vid chipset, so I found was plagued with trouble, which I thought may have been the result of a recall. Sadly, less than a month after my warranty expired, so did my machine. But fear not, it now does a great job providing a place for my webcam to sit.

    Incidentally, I could replace the mobo, but at a cost os ??520.00... may as well buy a new one.. Anyone looking for a notebook with a dud mobo but everything else in perfect working order give me a call. On the other hand, if I do that, where's my webcam going to sit??
    Steebs
  • Lenovo Notebook

    @Steebs:
    Depending on what model of T61 you have that motherboard may cost less than you think, for a good used one with a warranty.
    This link is the result of a quick ebay search:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-Lenovo-Thinkpad-T61-14-1-nVidia-Motherboard-41W1489-42W3784-fully-tested-/230803553319?pt=Motherboards&hash=item35bcf6bc27#ht_837wt_1396
    AFA overall quality of Lenovo, no better, no worse than other brands. The nVidia chipset debacle affected many brands, especially HP. I stay away from anything that says DV in front of the model number.
    mpaint
  • Long tem user of Thinkpad

    I am now on my 8th or 9th Thinkpad going back to the very first one; I now am using a 64bit 8GB T420i and so far so good. I have never had any problems getting adequate service and when I have had problems, normally with fans. they were addressed quickly and efficiently.
    jjc00mf
  • "He could not match the Americans in R&D spending..."

    The truth is that humans are humans are humans: Wherever they are, they're tool-using animals. If you give them the tools, they will learn to use them to build themselves more and better tools - and so "he could not match the Americans in R&D spending" is as much a thing of the past as America's quaint and provincial (and [i]arrogant[/i]) assumption of permanent technological supremacy is.
    ibsteve2u
  • My Ongoing Brand New Lenovo y 560 PC Laptop Issues Crash and Burn .

    I bought a Y560 Idea Pad Lenovo, good looking laptop, thin, good sound, slow, display light blue screen of death, from day two of purchase, then black screen of death, then have to reboot to get display monitor to light up again.
    Purchased from Frys in Vegas Nv.
    First went there from Mesquite Nv, called first , they said they had one left and would hold it in the front cage.
    Second, drove there, they sold it out from me.
    Third, there salesman said he would upsell me to the newer one that just came out for another 200 dollars or more, this one was 780 with tax approximately.
    Fourth, he said all they had was three in open box returns, only.
    He said he would sell me one if he could find one in the back.
    then, he sold me the one i took on vacation for a month out of state, which didnt work entire time, crashing display, and videos wouldnt load from youtube , green screen of videos, and BSOD and Display Driver Failures.

    Fifth, brought it back to Fry's they gave me another one, or the same one, had same issues for the rest of the 8 months of ownership. Frys wont warranty it, and Lenovo, cant repair it after sending it back a few times, all they did is re image it, and then blamed the OS was corrupted... which sent it back to me with the display light going down all the time and the ongoing other issues earlier mentioned.
    They wont believe its a refurbished or returned from frys in vegas second pc laptop, and wont believe its defective or replace it according to Greg Brethouer because they didnt replace any hardware in it he said, so they will continue to delay fixing it correctly or refund or replacing it with a model that doesnt fail.
    I read this when i first got it on Notebook Review, they said i would have display issues, sure enough .
    and Now, there Company wont do anything and wont recognize the second pc exchanged from Frys as the date my warranty should begin. So , now i have a Pc Laptop i bought that is a return, and is constantly breaking down, and having issues, and Lenovo keeps trying to get out of replacing or refunding my money, and is waiting for warranty to drop me like acer did with their bad laptops and e machines... lo and behold they hired the Acer VP to run their show... it never ends with poor customer service.
    Last i googled this issue, and its been a well known problem... funny thing is Lenovo wont do anything to resolve the ongoing long over due same ol problems .
    Recommend by different company laptop, such as MSI laptop. better off.
    Hvacrpro1
  • My experience has been good over many Thinkpads and towers

    I have used many various Thinkpads, from both IBM and Lenovo with good results. Are the people having trouble using Thinkpads or other Lenovo laptops (obviously the T61 is a Thinkpad...but others who have trouble with laptops?)

    I also have used many IBM towers with good reliability over the years. Yes, I have had a few drives or components fail but I am a heavy user and rough on machines.

    We recently bought a Lenovo Thinkpad w520 (a nice machine that has been dropped already) and a new Tower recently. So far so good. IMO they are as good as or better than most. Everyone who has used computers for a long time has good and bad stories. All will eventually either fail or just get old and slow. I am still a Thinkpad fanboy (oh yeah I just remembered I love the little red Trackpoint pointing stick (yes some do and some don't....)).
    jimz
  • Long time user and fanboy of Thinkpads

    I have used many various Thinkpads, from both IBM and Lenovo with good results. Are the people having trouble using Thinkpads or other Lenovo laptops (obviously the T61 is a Thinkpad...but others who have trouble with laptops?)

    I also have used many IBM towers with good reliability over the years. Yes, I have had a few drives or components fail but I am a heavy user and rough on machines.

    We recently bought a Lenovo Thinkpad w520 (a nice machine that has been dropped already) and a new Tower recently. So far so good. IMO they are as good as or better than most. Everyone who has used computers for a long time has good and bad stories. All will eventually either fail or just get old and slow. I am still a Thinkpad fanboy (oh yeah I just remembered I love the little red Trackpoint pointing stick (yes some do and some don't....)).
    jimz