Acer’s next CEO resigns even before assuming post

Call it the world’s shortest stint in the C-suite. Two weeks ago Acer Inc. named Jim Wong as its next chief executive office, today he announced that he was leaving the Taiwanese PC maker in light of the company’s recent performance.

It was only on November 5 that Wong was named as a replacement for then Acer CEO J.T. Wang who announced his intention to resign amid a massive corporate restructuring that could result in the layoff of seven per cent of Acer’s workforce in order to save $100 million by next year. Wong was supposed to officially assume the CEO post at the start of 2014.

“Chairman and CEO J.T. Wang and Corporate President Jim Wong have both stepped down in the light of the company’s recent performance,” an Acer statement said.

Now that both Wong and Wang are leaving the company, the CEO position is being eliminated.

The move has left company founder Stan Shih with no recourse but to temporarily take the helm of Acer as chairman and corporate president. Shih himself had already retired from the company but was called back by Acer’s board to help in the leadership transition from Wang to Wong.

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

The board’s decision to eliminate the CEO will provide Shih with a stronger hand as the CEO duties are being given to the chairman.

“Shih shall serve as Acer’s chairman until the end of his term on the board,” a statement from Acer said. “…The company will hand over the corporate presidency to the appropriate candidate as soon as possible.”

Wang and Wong will stay on as advisors to help in the transition.

After retiring from Acer, Shih had taken a most public awareness role with the company. He said he will honor his commitment to those duties despite his new responsibilities.

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

Two weeks ago, Shih said that Acer intends to introduce more competitive products the PC, tablet and smart phone space in order to “stabilize our market share.” He said the new focus will be the basis of the company’s transformation.

Acer’s personnel and business restructuring plans include reducing manpower, product plan termination with related product tooling and legal fees, resulting in a one-time cost of US$150M which is expected to be reported in the Q4’13 financial results. Acer will cut its worldwide employees by seven per cent resulting in OPEX savings of US$100M annually from 2014, the company said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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