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By | Paul Kunert 1st December 2011 11:45

Acer UK disties expect big things of new boss

Prepared to put annus horribilis behind them

Distributors have backed incoming Acer UK boss Neil Marshall to turn the ailing operation around and confine the channel-stuffing saga to history.

As revealed first by El Reg, Marshall was parachuted into the UK organisation after previous incumbent Bobby Watkins was shown the door following a staggering drop in sales.

An industry veteran, Marshall directed channel strategy at Compaq before joining Acer Europe in the same capacity. Most recently he was director of global sales and marketing transformation at the Taiwanese firm.

His appointment follows a torrid year for Acer in which it parted with CEO Gianfranco Lanci, wrote off $150m worth of stock that it discovered sitting in a European warehouse, recorded quarterly losses and saw its market share collapse.

In the process Acer strained relationships with distributors who struggled to clear shovels of Acer kit.

But company insiders say a top-down re-think of the business model is being executed worldwide and inventory management is the priority, with more flexibility being built into the supply, including sending kit by rail as well as sea.

Andy Gass, the UK boss at Computer 2000, described Marshall as "definitely one of the stars of the Acer organisation and him coming to the UK has got to be good for Acer and our Acer business.

"Neil worked constantly with us to understand the need to balance the inventory position with profitability and growth expectations," he told El Reg.

Henry Matthews, managing director at Northamber, said Acer had "caught a cold" but that he believed the UK will "run a leaner operation and also a more profitable one".

"Acer has got a lot of plans to take the business forward, streamline the operations and turn it into a good vendor," he said.

After two quarterly losses, Acer has forecast a return to profit in Q4 as the excess stock clears, president Jim Wong was reported as saying. ®

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