Lenovo's CEO Replaced

Company returns to Chinese management after 3Q loss

Lenovo said on Feb. 5 it was replacing its American chief executive and switching back to a Chinese-dominated management team as it reported dismal third quarter results. Yang Yuanqing, the Chinese firm's chairman, will return to the role of chief executive officer, after William Amelio, a U.S. national who has run the firm since 2005, did not have his contract renewed, the company said.

"Lenovo has grown successfully on the international stage but, at this important time, we want to pay particular attention to our China business as it represents the foundation of our global business and growth strategy," new chairman Liu Chuanzhi said.

The firm said it recorded a net loss of $97 million for the third quarter ending December. The company said worldwide demand for its personal computer had declined five percent year-on-year over the third quarter ending December. Consolidated sales for the third quarter fell 20% year-on-year to $3.59 billion.

Liu, who helped start the company 25 years ago, returns as chairman after being in the position until 2005. He said the appointment of Yang to CEO was of "particular benefit... since he built our Chinese business. We believe he is the right person to lead Lenovo for the next several years." Lenovo said Amelio's three-year contract had come to an end but added that he would remain as an adviser under September.

Amelio, a former executive at rival Dell, joined Lenovo soon after it bought part of U.S. computing firm IBM in 2005, a trailblazing deal that turned the group into the world's fourth largest personal computer maker. It also made Lenovo one of China's first truly multinational companies, but reports suggested there were early rifts after Amelio replaced a popular Chinese executive with one of his former colleagues from Dell.

Lenovo announced last month it would cut 2,500 jobs worldwide to save 300 million dollars for the coming fiscal year, specifically identifying problems in the China market.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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