Gianfranco Lanci Calls It Quits As Acer CEO


Has the impact of the iPad 2 claimed its first executive victim? The Taiwanese device maker Acer this morning issued a press release announcing that Gianfraco Lanci has resigned, with immediate effect, citing “different views from a majority of board members” as the reason. J.T. Wang, currently chairman and former CEO until Lanci took the position in 2008, will assume CEO duties in the interim.

Acer has been remarkably forthright in its press release about the reasons for the departure:

“On the company’s future development, Lanci held different views from a majority of the board members, and could not reach a consensus following several months’ of dialog,” it said. “They placed different levels of importance on scale, growth, customer value creation, brand position enhancement, and on resource allocation and methods of implementation.”

The release does not go into detail about what was the subject of those disagreements, but one quote from Wang could provide a clue over differences in strategy over Acer’s traditional PC business and its more recent forays into mobile and portable devices:

“The personal computer remains the core of our business,” he said. “We have built up a strong foundation and will continue to expand within, especially in the commercial PC segment. In addition, we are stepping into the new mobile device market, where we will invest cautiously and aim to become one of the leading players.”

In November the company made a big splash showing off its newest mobile computing devices.

This was a departure from its traditional main line of business of making PCs, and the hybrid culture resulted in at least one curious product that, depending on who you asked, was either innovative or just plain odd: the Iconia (pictured), in which what appears to be a laptop on the outside unfolds to reveal a two-screened tablet on the inside.

But since November, things, as they say, have moved on, and new product launches from other Android players as well as Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) with its iPad 2 have clearly shaken up Acer.

Last week, Acer announced that it would revise down its Q1 sales target to reflect a 10 percent decline, a big turnaround from previous guidance of three precent growth. And yesterday, a report from the China Economic News noted that the founder of Acer, Stan Shih, said that Acer needed to overhaul its strategy to focus more on profit margin rather than aiming for domination of the PC market. New products from companies like Apple, he added, have brought a “new perspective” to the market.

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