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By | Paul Kunert 7th February 2012 15:16

Acer sues ex-boss Lanci for shacking up with Lenovo

Contract's non-compete clause in question

Update Acer has sued former president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci amid claims that he breached a non-compete clause by joining rival Lenovo.

The lawsuit was lodged in a Milanese court today, according to a notification Acer made to the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The PC giant will seek to ascertain whether Lanci violated the "non-compete covenant under the Separation Agreement".

"At this moment, it is not realistic to accurately estimate the monetary amount of the financial and business impact toward Acer," the filing stated.

Lanci presided over Acer during the glory days when it was riding high at the upper echelons of the PC market on the back of a boom in low-cost consumer notebooks.

But the tide turned 18 months ago when High Street and web shoppers started hanging on to any spare cash in their pockets in an uncertain economy.

A boardroom bust-up over future strategy led to Lanci's departure in March as the firm slid down the rankings, months before Acer 'fessed up to stocking anomalies that forced it to write off $150m of inventory.

The bigwig's departure was a precursor to dramatic changes in Acer's exec line-up throughout the remainder of 2011 and a complete re-think of strategy – which included ways to improve relationships with the channel, which was stretched to the limit.

In September, Lanci pitched up at Lenovo as a consultant to help steer its consumer biz in light of the Medion acquisition, a move branded as negative for Acer by Morgan Stanley.

The Chinese giant made Lanci the head of PC operations in the EMEA region at the start of this year as it seeks to realise its goal of becoming one of the world's largest PC vendors in two to three years.

Lanci did not respond to calls at the time of writing.

A Lenovo spokeswoman told El Reg: "As a matter of policy, Lenovo will not comment on any pending litigation. We are confident that our relationship with Mr Lanci meets all legal requirements. Beyond that, we have no comment on the specifics of this case." ®

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